Toyota Teams Up With Japanese Space Agency for Lunar Rover Development

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is serious about sending people to the moon, and they want to use a rover to explore it further. They’ve partnered with Toyota to develop a vehicle.

The concept vehicle seen here is a far cry from the minimalist, open-cockpit version that Apollo Astronauts used in the 1970s. Indeed, this is a much bigger vehicle, with bigger aspirations.

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Manned rovers with pressurized cabins are an element that will play an important role in fully fledged exploration and use of the lunar surface. For this, we would like to concentrate our country’s technological abilities and conduct technological studies. Through our joint studies, we would like to put Toyota’s excellent technological abilities related to mobility to use. We look forward to the acceleration of our technological studies for the realization of a manned, pressurized rover.

-JAXA president, Hiroshi Yamakawa

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Toyota thinks the best plan is to use a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion, giving the rover a long driving range. It’ll be interesting to see how this plan develops, and if plans for such an ambitious lunar rover play out.

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The proposed rover will be roughly equivalent in size to a pair of small buses or motorcoaches, and will measure six meters in length. Interior volume will be 13 cubic meters, capable of housing two astronauts (four in an emergency).  – Motor1

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