Polaris’ ultimate off-road vehicle: Lunar Rover replica commemorates Apollo 11 50-year anniversary

Polaris and the US Space and Rocket Center collaborated to build a working lunar rover replica

Polaris created a fully-functioning replica of the original Lunar Rover Vehicle (LRV).
Polaris created a fully-functioning replica of the original Lunar Rover Vehicle (LRV). Raeley Stevenson photo

Fifty years ago, mankind accomplished the ultimate off-road odyssey when they landed on the moon.

To honor and celebrate the legends of the Apollo 11 mission, Polaris Industries collaborated with the US Space and Rocket Center (USSRC) in Huntsville, Alabama to create a working replica of the Lunar Rover. As the No. 1 in off-road vehicles, this was the ultimate off-road project for Polaris.

The new Polaris Lunar Rover Replica made its first public debut in Huntsville, Alabama at the USSRC Apollo Celebration Car Show on July 13. The replica brakes, accelerates, and has four-wheel Ackermann steering, like the original NASA Lunar Rover Vehicle (LRV). The fenders were fiberglass molded using the original 50-year old molds that produced the parts that are on the moon. The replica, however, is much faster than the original.

The Polaris Lunar Rover Replica encompasses Polaris’ 65-year history through its use of parts from each line of Polaris vehicles: snowmobiles, motorcycles, Slingshots, ATV’s, side-by-sides, Electric GEM’s and military vehicles.

The Polaris Lunar Rover Replica encompasses Polaris’ 65-year history through its use of parts from each line of Polaris vehicles.
The Polaris Lunar Rover Replica encompasses Polaris’ 65-year history through its use of parts from each line of Polaris vehicles. Graphic courtesy Polaris

As the nation celebrates the 50-year anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, the Polaris Lunar Rover Replica is appearing at many events, including:

  • First public debut at the USSRC Apollo Celebration Car Show in Huntsville, July 13
  • Concert in the Park in Huntsville, July 15
  • Marshall Space Flight Center (SFC) for NASA unveiling, July 16
  • USSRC Guinness World Record Launch of 5,000 rockets in Huntsville, July 16
  • Landing on Moon parade in Huntsville, July 19
  • City Summer Fest Moon Landing Concert at USSRC, July 20
  • Huntsville Public Library for LRV History on September 19, 2019
  • Lap around Talladega Speedway in October 2019

Members from the original LRV crew and a NASA astronaut worked with the Polaris Lunar Rover Replica team on the project from start to finish. Polaris employees volunteered their time to work on the development of the near-exact LRV replica.

“Having the opportunity to honor legends, work with members of the original crew and lend our expertise and technologies to build this Lunar Rover Replica has been incredible,” said Bryan Ogle, manager of manufacturing at Polaris. “One of the coolest things was being able to mold the fiberglass fenders using the original 50-year-old molds. And now seeing it in action, riding it, it’s amazing.”

Special thanks to the original rover team on sharing the marvels of engineering that have remained inspirational generations later. The Polaris Lunar Rover Replica not only pays tribute to the marvels of engineering, but it will also inspire the dreamers and builders of generations to come.

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