Lexus designers create lunar transport concepts

Jonathon Ramsey

See Full Image Gallery >>

NASA is working to put human back on the moon by 2024, the idea being to use it as a way station for the eventual colonization of Mars. Since those humans won't want to moonwalk everywhere, they'll need new transportation — the battery-electric Lunar Rover the Apollo astronauts left up there probably won't start. Designers at the European Advanced Design Studio for Toyota and Lexus created a few potential, and yes, fanciful, craft for getting around our satellite for Document Journal magazine's The Lunar Design Portfolio. The artwork joins a collection of articles by culture critics, philosophers, architects, and more about the issues confronting humanity's return to the mistress of tides. Out of the seven concepts, the Lexus creation chosen to appear in the issue is Karl Dujardin's Zero Gravity, which turns the automaker's spindle grille into a single-seater moto-like hovercraft capable of doing 310 mph.

The Bouncing Moon Roller by Julien Marie attaches a wheel-like stabilizer to a gyroscope cell protected by a flexible graphene nanotube bubble meant for hopping over the terrain, whereas the Lexus Lunar Cruiser by Keisuke Matsuno serves land and sky by having wheels that can flip out 90 degrees to serve as ducted fans powering a drone capsule.

Jean-Baptiste Henry's Lexus Cosmos isn't for the surface at all, with a Lexus mothership and Moon Explorator capable of solar system travel. The glass construction of the observatory in the Moon Explorator allows "group experience contemplation [of] Zero G," and there's even a "space swimming pool." The Mothership awaits a role in the next installment of A Space Odyssey, a glossy habitat for whatever life forms succeed humans. Astronauts might be able to launch from the mothership in the Lexus Lunar Mission craft designed by Yung Presciutti, using wings shaped like spindle grilles.

Because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy even in space, the Lexus Lunar is a 6x6 "massive transport vehicle designed to explore and discover the moon safely," meaning it can haul a few Moon Racers — both of which are also Presciutti's work —  a different kind of single-seater craft made to "jump, climb, race, and discover" the light and dark sides of the moon.