Toyota reveals rover, 2029 moon landing plans with Japanese space agency

Toyota and the Japanese space exploration agency JAXA have announced a tie-up to work on mobility for future space exploration.

The pressurized vehicle proposed this week by Toyota is six meters long and 3.8 meters high - or, about the size of two microbuses, the auto company says.

JAXA says it aims to launch this new rover in 2029. The rover promises a lunar cruising range of 10,000km.

"Through our collaboration with Toyota as the starting point, we can further expand the resources of "Team Japan" in the continued pursuit of worldwide space exploration", Wakata says.

"Fuel cells, which use clean power-generation methods, emit only water, and, due to their high energy density, they can provide a lot of energy, making them especially suited for the project being discussed with JAXA", Terashi says, adding that the this type of vehicles emit lower amounts of harmful substances.

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

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. Furthermore, cars are used in all of Earth's regions, and, in some regions, cars play active roles as partners for making sure that people come back alive.

'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.

Fuel cell electric vehicles can travel much further than battery-powered ones before having to recharge, which makes the technology suited for the lunar project, according to Toyota.

'Lunar gravity is one-sixth of that on Earth, ' explained JAXA Vice President Koichi Wakata.

JAXA will cooperate with Toyota on technologies to purify water and air in the vehicle. The executive added safety has always been a top concern at Toyota and it will ensure any lunar rover brings human astronauts back from the moon's surface safely. The automaker and Japanese space agency announced an agreement to study the possibility of collaborating on global space exploration.

  • Joey Payne