Toyota Will Land a Rover on the Moon in 2029

CaptionThis supplied image shows a rover that Toyota Motor Corp. says it will jointly develop to be sent to the Moon in 2029

Toyota and JAXA are eyeing the rover for future manned missions to the moon where mobility is critical.

Toyota has revealed the autonomous rover it could soon send to the moon. 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.

Toyota's announcement of the agreement is somewhat vague in its language, noting that the company and JAXA now have an agreement to "consider the possibility of collaborating on worldwide space exploration".

Powering the Toyota Moon Rover concept will be "fuel cell electric vehicle technologies" similar to what the Japanese carmaker used in its current Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. "I am extremely happy that, for this project, expectations have been placed on the thus-far developed durability and driving performance of Toyota vehicles and on our fuel cell environmental technologies".

-JAXA President Hiroshi YamakawaThe automotive industry has long done business with the concepts of "hometown" and "home country" largely in mind.

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A pressurized cabin will allow the rover to transport astronauts across greater distances on the surface of the moon.

But first, it will need the technology to support them. The 13m² cabin will house two astronauts, and the solar-fuel-cell vehicle is created to have a range of 10,000km.

Toyota is targeting a rover 6-meters long, 5.2-meters wide, and 3.8-meters high. Three LRVs went to the moon on separate Apollo missions (15, 16 and 17) and each of them was driven on the moon surface three times, one per day during the time the astronauts were there.

Sending humans back to the Moon is something that NASA and a number of other space agencies around the world are now working towards.

Though it's meant to carry two people, Toyota says it can fit four in an emergency situation.


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