Toyota Aims to Send Lunar Rover Into Space in 2029

Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency wants to put a Toyota vehicle on the moon

"Having Toyota join us in the challenge of worldwide space exploration greatly strengthens our confidence", Hiroshi Yamakawa, JAXA's president, said in the release.

The automaker's fuel cells use clean power-generation methods and only emit water and have reduced amounts of harmful substances that the vehicle company is working to improve, Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi said Tuesday.

Toyota has revealed the first look at the solar-powered autonomous rover it could soon send to the moon.

The Toyota Moon Rover Concept for JAXA measures in at 6.0-metres long, 5.2-metres wide and 3.8-metres tall, which is around the size of two microbuses combined. The rover promises a lunar cruising range of 10,000km.

With the moon's complex terrain and the challenge of radiation and temperature conditions, a pressurized rover that can move easily on the surface is an absolute necessity.

Toyota said its automated driving technologies and fuel-cell know-how should enable the rover to travel more than 10,000 kilometers on the moon's rough surface.

The agreement is meant to promote Japanese technological knowhow.

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 global space exploration".

Toyota president Akio Toyodo said that cars, even now on our planet, play active roles in "making sure that people come back alive".

The use of fuel cells allows the rover to travel over a great distance on the lunar surface as well as maintain mobility that's necessary in exploring the moon. And I think that coming back alive is exactly what is needed in this project. The LRVs remain on the surface of the moon, along with unmanned rovers from Russian Federation and China. For this, we would like to concentrate our country's technological abilities and conduct technological studies.

The rover is projected to be launched in 2029.

During a symposium on Tuesday, March 12 in Tokyo, Toyota executive vice president Shigeki Terashi expresses his excitement at the automotive company's new project and explains the value of state-of-the-art fuel cell technology.



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