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Lexus Is Designing Vehicles for the Moon

Sure, Tesla sent a car to space, but these Lexuses were designed for space

Courtesy of Motor Trend
Jan 17, 2020

It seems Lexus's design department has grown a little bored with designing vehicles for Earth. The company recently released a series of design sketches for a distraction of sorts for its in-house artists: Lunar rovers and various spacecraft. And this isn't the first time Toyota or one of its divisions has let their minds wander to the cosmos.

Now, Lexus designers didn't just sit down one day, pass around some hallucinogenic drugs, and then pick up their pens. At least, they didn't do so on their own. All of these spacy concepts were born from the Lunar Design Project, a collaboration between Lexus and Toyota's European design studio intended to "imagine human life on the moon" and pose questions such as "How shall we live [on the moon]? What will it look like? What will we wear? What will we drive?"

So, yeah, none of these concept drawings will probably ever come to life—let alone be sent to the freakin' moon. Still, we wanted to show them off anyway, for they're a fascinating peek into Lexus designers' freakiest imaginations. Who knows, maybe the next IS will look something like what's in these sketches. There's just no way to be sure how far Lexus is willing to go—after all, it clearly seems to be shooting for the moon here. So, move over Tesla sending a Roadster to space in a SpaceX rocket, and skip past imagination-free NASA, because these Lexus space vehicles are takin' over beyond our atmosphere:

Zero Gravity K. Dujardin Detail 3 Photo 12/12   |   Lexus Is Designing Vehicles for the Moon

Zero Gravity Motorcycle
Lexus has taken its signature design language and modified it for zero (or at least low) gravity. This Tron-esque light cycle-looking thing is supposedly designed to take Lexus's "spindle" form to space and help eager explorers easily (and, perhaps, stylishly?) glide over the rutted surface of the moon. Think of it as a moped for space that has a top speed of 300 mph. That's pretty cool. Hey Lexus, why not just make one for Earth?

Bouncing Moon Roller J. Marie Photo 12/12   |   Lexus Is Designing Vehicles for the Moon

Bouncing Moon Roller
If bikes really aren't your thing, maybe, um, balls are! Lexus calls its Bouncing Moon Roller a ball protected by a flexible graphene nanotube-based bubble, and says it is for traversing the surface of the moon without being disturbed by its lumps and bumps. What's more, if you're not feeling much like rolling to your destination, the bubble can apparently bounce on command to hop anywhere you please.

Lexus Lunar Cruisar K. Matsuno Photo 12/12   |   Lexus Is Designing Vehicles for the Moon

Lexus Lunar Cruiser
Not unlike the iconic Land Cruiser SUV that Toyota sells—and has underpinned several equivalent Lexus models over the years—the Lunar Cruiser is a multipurpose vehicle. As its name implies, however, its scope goes beyond the Land Cruiser's. The Lunar Cruiser is for use on land and in the sky—on the moon. The wheels function normally while the LC is on the ground, but they can pivot 90 degrees to vertical and morph into fans that help the cruiser fly like a drone. What Lexus apparently forgot is that moon doesn't have an atmosphere, and there is no sky, so there is no flying to do, unless you use thrusters.

Lexus Lunar Mission Y. Presciutti Photo 12/12   |   Lexus Is Designing Vehicles for the Moon

Lexus Lunar Mission
The Lunar Mission concept is Lexus's answer to the space shuttle, and it is designed to be someone's first experience with lunar travel. The design brief for the Lunar Mission says, and we're not joking about this: "The design integrates a liquid side body, which can reflect the universe while flying toward the moon." Even though we haven't the first (or second, or third) idea what that means, it sounds like a much more interesting way to get to the moon than one of those pedestrian-looking rocket ships we have today.

Lexus Moon Racer Y. Presciutti Photo 12/12   |   Lexus Is Designing Vehicles for the Moon

Lexus Moon Racer
Designed to effortlessly race across the moon's surface, the Lexus Moon Racer looks like a cross between a Lamborghini Egoista (remember that bad boy?) and Tesla's new ATV. Lexus says you can use the vehicle to jump, climb, and race your way to any part of the moon, as long as you're cool with doing it all by yourself. That's right, much like that wild Lambo concept of old, the Moon Racer can support only one occupant.

Lexus Lunar Y. Presciutti Photo 12/12   |   Lexus Is Designing Vehicles for the Moon

Lexus Lunar
Unlike the Moon Racer, this six-wheeled behemoth is designed with serious practicality in mind. Where that concept seats just one, the Lunar (yeah, we keep thinking there's more to the name than just "Lunar," but that's what Lexus is calling it) is designed to be so large it could mobilize an entire moon village. In fact, the top half of the rig is a living area, and part of it can actually detach from the wheels and actually sustain a new lunar colony. Human space imperialism aside, the Lunar also happens to be the closest thing to a space tank we've seen yet, and it looks very rad.

Lexus Cosmos J. Henry_detail01 Photo 12/12   |   Lexus Is Designing Vehicles for the Moon

Lexus Cosmos
This carrot-shaped wonder is the future of space luxury, according to Lexus, anyway. It's designed as a fancy way to take in spacial scenery while keeping you suspended in zero gravity at the same time—although on that point any container will do when you're suspended in zero gravity, be it a long clear suppository like the Cosmos or a plastic bag or a dumpster. With the cockpit at the back, the Cosmo is supposed to effortlessly shuttle you from the lunar surface to outer space and back again. Oh, and it's made entirely of glass, so don't even think about throwing any rocks!

Lexus Cosmos J. Henry Photo 12/12   |   Lexus Is Designing Vehicles for the Moon
By Courtesy of Motor Trend
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