Japan Announces Plans to Send Toyota to the Moon

Federico Mansilla
Marcha 13, 2019

The auto company teamed up with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to develop a pressurized vehicle capable of carrying astronauts on the lunar surface without the need for space suits. JAXA is aiming to launch the system in 2029.

The automaker's fuel cells use clean power-generation methods and only emit water and have reduced amounts of harmful substances that the auto company is working to improve, Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi said Tuesday. The LRVs remain on the surface of the moon, along with unmanned rovers from Russian Federation and China.

"At JAXA, we are studying various scenarios as well as technologies that will be applied to specific space missions", JAXA Vice President Koichi Wakata said at the event, according to a press release. The 13m² cabin will house two astronauts, and the solar-fuel-cell vehicle is created to have a range of 10,000km.

Japan's space agency, JAXA, announced the partnership with Toyota on March 12.

JAXA and Toyota are aiming to launch the rover in 2029, with human missions to follow in the 2030s.

'Meanwhile, the moon has a complex terrain with craters, cliffs, and hills.

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Toyota and Japan's space agency are teaming up to develop a manned lunar rover that runs on fuel cell technologies. Even with the limited amount of energy that can be transported to the moon, the pressurized rover would have a total lunar-surface cruising range of more than 10,000 km.

The vehicle will be sent separately from the humans that will ride in it and will meet the astronauts once they arrive on the moon.

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

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

The moon rover is said to be pressurised to allow the astronauts on-board to live and work without having to constantly wear their space suits.

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