Xtend Design, an architecture and design agency based in London and Prague, has unveiled the concept lunar rover LUNIAQ inspired by the Skoda Enyaq electric car. The electric lunar rover concept was unveiled during an event at Czech Space Week earlier this month.
Penned by Czech designer Tomáš Rousek of Xtend Design, LUNIAQ is based on NASA’s MMSEV platform (Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle) and draws its inspiration from the Skoda Enyaq. It’s easy to see echoes of Skoda’s graceful yet angular design themes in the rover concept. Tomas previously worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, designing vehicle designs that could be used to take humanity to the moon or even Mars.
LUNIAQ’s 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 that allow connection to the lunar base’s space modules. At the rear, the rover is equipped with 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 spacesuits and prevents harmful moon dust from entering the cabin.
The electric power is stored in solid-state batteries, which can be charged using UltraFlex solar panels on the roof. Solar panels can unfold into the shape of a fan and allow charging while standing or driving slowly. There are also radiators for cooling during the lunar day and antennas for communication with the lunar base, the Earth, orbital stations, and other satellites.
The LUNIAQ lunar rover comes with transparent aluminum for the large windows, which is said to be more resistant to micrometeorites than glass. Polyethylene layers provide additional radiation protection, while the bottom front window allows drivers to watch the terrain directly in front of the car. It also comes with 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 surfaces thanks to Michelin’s Tweel technology.
“Sustainable development could enable us to keep progressing forward and extend the biosphere to other places in space. 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. Technically, humanity is advanced enough, so it is becoming just a question of our motivation and funding. The new era of electric mobility could continue across the entire Solar System and beyond,” says Tom Rousek.