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Let's Get Your Martian Motor Running

What could commercial cars on Mars look like?

CK KIMBALL
September 07 2021

Okay, so you want to drive on Mars in the future. Sure, the soil of Mars is toxic with chlorine. And sure, the atmosphere is inhospitable even in the basic considerations of comfort or life. And, yes, there are dust storms that are so strong they block out the sun.

That doesn’t mean a human can’t cruise Mars in a sweet ride ... as long as it’s radiation-resistant too. So, the truth is we’re a long, long way from having a commercial driving vehicle on Mars, but with some understanding of Mars, living on Mars, and sweet rides… well… we can maybe envision what that vehicle could look like.

From the beginning, Mars isn’t just dead. It’s intense. The lack of a magnetosphere and the thin atmosphere means radiation is high, but weather is low. Every day is a sunny, clear day on Mars. As any fan of Italian engineering will tell you, good weather is great weather for an Italian-made vehicle. So maybe the forerunners to red-planet-ridin will be something Italian based like Ferrari or Lamborghini. Or, imagine a Maserati shifting past the Martian Hellas Basin on a sunny day. 

There’s also going to be a need for a lean, mean, solar-powered vehicle with radiation shields and can withstand clouds of red dust. That feels like something that would be right up Toyota’s alley, right?  

Toyota, inarguably, led the pack in hybrid vehicles and have a long history of partnering with NASA, from assisting in acceleration studies to the 2020 deal where every new Toyota Supra owner received a complimentary one-year NASA membership and one complimentary track day in NASA’s High Performance Driving Event program. It logically follows that they could also be the giant company to develop the first solar-powered and possibly solar-generating Sedan for Mars surface travel. Whatever that looks like, no one knows, but the theories are mind-boggling. Take a look at this beauty we’ve dreamed up:

A Toyota Mars Rover: Courtesy CK Kimball

We’re talking six-wheeled vehicles, dark tinted domes, possibly running on nuclear power and that will almost definitely be capable of self-driving. These would be inspired by Mars rovers, but made for the hip human colonies. If any company has made strides with taking weird ideas and making magic, it’s Toyota.  

But those are just our pipedream fantasies for right now. It might seem silly if next time you’re in cruising in a Toyota Mirai, you think to yourself “What if this was Mars?”, but in a few decades, if Toyota and NASA and maybe Ferrari partner up, then who knows – you could have a vehicle worthy of doing donuts on Martian soil.

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