Toyota lunar rover concept is out of this world

Toyota lunar rover concept is out of this world

JAXA anticipates it will be ready to send a lunar rover to the moon in 2029 with more manned missions planned throughout the 2030s.

"Through our collaboration with Toyota as the starting point, we can further expand the resources of "Team Japan" in the continued pursuit of global space exploration", Wakata says.

On Tuesday, the automaker announced an agreement with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to potentially collaborate on worldwide space exploration.

The vehicle uses Toyota's fuel cell vehicle technologies and would have a cruising range of more than 6,000 miles on the surface of the moon, despite limited amounts of fuel that can be brought there. The rover can accommodate two people normally, or four in an emergency. "Fuel cells, which use clean power-generation methods, emit only water, and, due to their high energy density, they can provide a lot of energy, making them especially ideal for the project being discussed with JAXA", said Toyota Executive Vice President Terashi.

JAXA's Vice President Koichi Wakata and Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi announced the project at a symposium on space exploration in Tokyo on Tuesday. Instead of a family sedan, the vehicle manufacturer is making a pressurized self-driving rover to cruise the lunar surface. To achieve the goals of such exploration, coordination between robotic missions, such as the recent successful touchdown by the asteroid probe Hayabusa2 on the asteroid Ryugu, and human missions, such as those involving humans using pressurized rovers to conduct activities on the moon, is essential. The LRVs remain on the surface of the moon, along with unmanned rovers from Russian Federation and China.

Toyota president Akio Toyodo said that cars, even now on our planet, play active roles in "making sure that people come back alive". The two firms have signed an agreement that will see them cooperate on a joint study for a manned and pressurized rover.

Toyota Motor Corp. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency have joined hands to develop the first lunar vehicle that astronauts can use without wearing spacesuits. And I think that coming back alive is exactly what is needed in this project. Toyota's "space mobility" concept meets such mission requirements. JAXA plans to collaborate with others as "Team Japan" sets their sights on the space exploration.

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