If you had to take one production vehicle on an extraterrestrial expedition, the Toyota Land Cruiser would be a pretty solid pick. The designers at CALTY, Toyota’s southern California studio, seem to agree. As part of their 50th anniversary celebration, they’ve dreamed up the Baby Lunar Cruiser, an off-road vehicle inspired by the FJ40 that’s meant for exploring non-Earth lands.
The Baby Lunar Cruiser, or BLC for short, takes cues from the actual Toyota Lunar Cruiser that’s supposed to be launched into space in 2029. And yes, it’s a real thing currently under development in conjunction with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the NASA of Japan.
The full-sized Lunar Cruiser is a six-wheeled rolling laboratory and is gigantic, but the BLC is sized more like a regular car. It’s powered by in-wheel electric motors wrapped in airless tires. Makes sense, as you probably wouldn’t want to be fussing with air-fuel ratios and tire pressures in a place that has a wildly different atmosphere than Earth or none at all.
Heritage cues include a grille with the “TOYOTA” Helvetica logo that doubles as a module for radar/lidar sensors and cameras. It has a white roof, a cue on the FJ40 to keep the cabin as cool as possible by reflecting sunlight — and also convenient on planets that might be much hotter than ours. At the rear, wraparound glass and a split tailgate hearken back to the FJ40 as well.
Beyond that, there are lots of clever packaging details for everything you’d need to go off-world overlanding. The panoramic sky roof is structural, the door panels have an accessory rail, and MOLLE panels are everywhere. There’s even “smart” sun visors that automatically lower.
The BLC is just a concept, one that only exists as ones and zeros. But it’s still fun to imagine what it would actually be like to drive on another planet. After all, the Land Cruiser has already conquered all seven continents on Earth, so what frontier is left but the final one?
Images courtesy of Toyota.