XTend Design has unveiled the concept lunar rover Luniaq inspired by Skoda’s Enyaq electric car. The rover was presented in Virtuplex, the largest Virtual Reality laboratory in Europe. The chief designer of Luniaq is space architect Tomas Rousek of Xtend Design, who previously worked on concepts of missions to the Moon, Mars and asteroids at NASA JPL. The Luniaq Rover is a concept of an electric lunar vehicle for up to four astronauts, inspired by the design of Skoda SUV cars.
The technical solution of the rover is based on NASA’s MMSEV platform (Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle). Tomas worked on concepts of missions to the Moon, Mars and asteroids at NASA JPL. Several of his projects involved rovers based on this system and Tom also participated in the HDU (Habitat Demonstration Unit) project, a simulation of a space base in the Arizona desert. The cabin has space for up to four astronauts, depending on the length of the mission. The rover would also be capable of autonomous and remote operation.
There are two hatches on the sides of the rover allowing the connection to the space modules of the Moon base. At the rear, the rover features a ‘suitport’ covered by a hinged door which reveals two spacesuits attached to the outside of the vehicle. This solution allows astronauts to crawl directly into their spacesuits and prevents harmful lunar dust entering the cabin. The electrical power is stored in solid-state batteries that can be charged by means of UltraFlex solar panels on the roof. The solar panels can unfold into a fan shape and allow charging while standing or driving slowly. The roof area accommodates also radiators for cooling down during lunar day and antennas for communication with the lunar base, Earth, orbital stations and other satellites.
The design of the front of the car is inspired by Skoda Enyaq. Large windows are built of transparent Aluminium which is more resistant to micrometeorites than glass. Additional radiation protection is provided by polyethylene layers. Bottom front window allows drivers to watch the terrain directly in front of the car. Above it, there are stereoscopic cameras to scan the terrain and for 3D imaging to enable the remote and autonomous control of the car. Large soft wheels would offer comfortable driving on bumpy lunar surface thanks to Michelin’s Tweel technology.
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