Japan Announces Plans to Send Toyota to the Moon

Toyota, JAXA to develop manned moon probe

Toyota's making a moon rover for Japan

When humans head to the Moon again, they're going to need transportation, and a new partnership between Japanese space agency JAXA and carmaker Toyota may solve that problem.

The six-wheeled rover, which is still in the conceptual stage, will be powered by a fuel cell and be able to accommodate two people - or four in an emergency - for several weeks at a time, Toyota said, adding it would have a cruising range of more than 6,200 miles (10,000km).

"I believe that our industry, which is constantly thinking about the role it should fulfill, shares the same aspirations of global space exploration", Toyoda said.

JAXA believes it will have the ability to launch the lunar rover into space come 2029, and more manned missions will come throughout the 2030s.

Toyota and JAXA's concept of the rover has been in the works since May 2018.

Toyota's next challenge is out of this world.

Safety is a major concern for Toyota, so the automaker will pay careful attention to details to ensure any human astronaut returns safely from the lunar rover, to the vessel, and back to Earth.

Toyota, JAXA to develop manned moon probe
Toyota reveals rover, 2029 moon landing plans with Japanese space agency

'Manned rovers with pressurized cabins are an element that will play an important role in full-fledged exploration and use of the lunar surface, ' JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa said on Tuesday. Instead of a family sedan, the auto manufacturer is making a pressurized self-driving rover to cruise the lunar surface. And I think that coming back alive is exactly what is needed in this project.

The rover, which is expected to be 6 meters long, 5.2 meters wide and 3.8 meters high, will feature Toyota's fuel cell technology.

'Lunar gravity is one-sixth of that on Earth, ' explained JAXA Vice President Koichi Wakata. It said the crewed, pressurized rover will use Toyota's fuel cell technology.

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

The rover will land on the moon before the humans get there and travel over the surface to meet them, Endgadget reports.

JAXA will cooperate with Toyota on technologies to purify water and air in the vehicle. JAXA plans to collaborate with others as "Team Japan" sets their sights on the space exploration.

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