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Toyota Land Cruiser inspires Japan's upcoming moon rover

It's called the Lunar Cruiser as a direct link to one of Toyota's longest running models, known for its durability.

Meet the Lunar Cruiser.

Toyota and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency plan to reach the moon with a manned rover before the end of the decade. With the automaker's fuel cell tech onboard, Toyota decided to draw a link between space and Earth with the rover's official name. JAXA and Toyota on Friday announced the manned vehicle will be named the Lunar Cruiser.

The name directly recalls the Toyota Land Cruiser, which first entered production in 1951. In the announcement, the automaker said it based the decision on the "quality, durability and reliability" the Land Cruiser provided in the past, and still offers. The characteristics are especially crucial as Toyota and JAXA continue development. The Lunar Cruiser needs to keep astronauts safe as it roams the moon's surface.

With a name in place, work continues between the automaker and space agency. They announced their cooperation last year, with plans to launch the Lunar Cruiser in the latter half of this decade. Today, the Toyota and JAXA teams continue to hash out technologies and test various elements to ensure everything will go right when the time comes to launch into space. Part of the process will be to show off a prototype vehicle when the time is right.

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