This New Lunar Rover Concept Inspired By Skoda Comes With Puncture-Proof Tires

Space cars aren’t exactly a novel concept. Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster is an electric sports automobile that became an artificial satellite of the Sun after serving as the dummy payload for the Falcon Heavy test mission in February 2018. However, as mankind spreads its footprint to the stars, Xtend Design is ensuring that the legacy of Earth’s automobile sector is not lost in the scramble.

During Czech Space Week earlier this month, the firm revealed a concept for an electric lunar rover. The Luniaq is a vehicle based on NASA’s MMSEV (Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle) platform that takes influence from the Skoda Enyaq. Within the rover concept, it’s easy to discern echoes of Skoda’s slick but angular design elements.

The car is equipped with Michelin’s puncture-resistant Tweel tyre technology, and its large windows can be built of clear aluminum, making them more durable than glass in the face of flying particles and micrometeorites.

Polyethylene layers would shield astronauts from radiation, while stereoscopic cameras set on the car’s top would survey the landscape and aid in its autonomous functioning. Tomas Rousek, a space architect at Xtend who previously worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on concept trips to the Moon and Mars, has built this electric vehicle.

Astronauts walk near the boxy yet graceful rover one the moon in an artist's rendition.
Source: Xtend Design

It also has a “suitport” behind the rover that allows astronauts to quickly access their suits without the risk of dirt or other particles entering the cabin. The car is powered by solid-state batteries, which can be recharged using photovoltaic panels on the roof.

In a statement, the designer Mr. Tomas Rousek said “We would like to inspire people on how we could continue to progressively develop our technologies and one day live and drive in places other than Earth”. It’s anyone’s guess whether the concept will ever be put into production, but it’s wonderful to see the world showing such a strong desire to establish a presence in space.

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