"Moon Mater" is the eighth episode in the Cars Toons series.
It all started when Mater was towing a car to Florida and suddenly, "Houston" had a problem. Autonaut Impala XIII is stuck on the moon and he needs a tow. No one is certain where to get a tow until Mater shows up at the launch pad still towing the car. And with a little bit of training at "NASCA", he became an official Auto-naut. Now inside a space shuttle named Roger, Mater blasts off into outer space headed for the moon. Now landing on the moon, Mater spots Impala XIII. Mater connects his hook to the front of Impala XIII and blasts off back to Earth at 17,000 mph, with Impala XIII hanging on to him. Mater then says that 17,000 mph is nothing compared to Lightning, who shows up going at an even faster speed. Lightning, now even slightly lighting on fire, lands by shooting into the ocean, which then Mater does a safer way by using a very big raft and parachute. Now having returned to Earth, Mater and Lightning are celebrated with parades, interviews, and even Moon Mater Day!
Back in Radiator Springs, Lightning tells Mater, "That did not happen." "Well, suit yourself," replies Mater. Just then, Roger shows up and tells Mater that "Houston" has another problem. So, Mater drives inside Roger and they blast off into outer space for another mission.
- The newspaper on which the episode's title appears is the "Emeryville Gazette." Emeryville is a city in California where Pixar headquarters is located. This marks the second time the town is mentioned in the Cars world, the first time being in Cars.
- This is the first Cars Toons episode that does not begin with the characters at Flo's V8 Cafe.
- Moon Mater is the direct transposition in the Cars world of the Apollo program. A main difference is the use of a Space Shuttle to get to the moon, instead of a gigantic rocket (Saturn V). In reality, most of the spaceflight-related sequences of this episode are impossible and/or nonsensical.
- Auto-naut Impala XIII's name is a reference to "Apollo XIII," which as Impala's XIII's mission almost turned to disaster.
- NASCA is a portmanteau of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing).
- When Roger takes off to the Moon to rescue Impala XIII, he is taking off from a launchpad like an actual space shuttle, but at the end of the short, he takes off from a runway similar to an airplane.
- "Auto-naut" is a pun on "astronaut". However, near the end of the short, the TV show host talking to Mater says "astronaut".
- Lightning McQueen
- Impala XIII, an autonaut
- Roger, the space shuttle
- Ground Control pitties
- Mia and Tia
- Rescue Chopper
- Unnamed aircraft carrier
- Unnamed TV show host
- 2 Ground Support trucks
- Camera Cars
- Stu Bop