Some concept cars feature designs that seem out of this world, and others are not really from this planet—or at least not designed to be used on it. Case in point is the latest creation from Nissan, built in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
The curious-looking contraption depicted here is a lunar-rover prototype, designed to explore the surface of the moon. It may look quite basic on first glance, but a lot of clever tech has been added to help it explore new horizons at some yet to be determined point in the future.
As the surface of the moon is covered in fine sand, any vehicle designed to drive around earth’s only natural satellite needs to be able to cope with the harsh terrain and be designed in such a way that it doesn’t get stuck. After all, you can’t just pop up there and give the unmanned machine a push if things go pear-shaped.
To achieve this, Nissan equipped the unnamed electric space car with some clever ideas such as its e-4orce technology. Also found in the Ariya road car, e-4orce allows for every wheel to be carefully and individually controlled, which helps to prevent wheelspin and ultimately getting bogged down 384,400km from the nearest rescue crew.
Some of the motor-control technology applied in the space rover comes from Nissan’s mass-market cars like the Leaf, while the firm is also learning from the project and hopes to find uses for its findings in future products and applications.
Of course, it isn’t the first company to build a vehicle designed for use on the moon or elsewhere in the universe. Over 20 different otherworldly contraptions have been designed, planned, proposed or built by various firms. Among them are the original Apollo moon buggies, and machines from General Motors, Toyota and even Lexus.