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

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

Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency wants to put a Toyota vehicle on the moon. Chesnot Getty Images

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 is a leader in fuel cell development back on earth, with many vehicles in testing - while its hydrogen fuel cell-powered Mirai compact auto has been on sale in the USA, Japan and Europe since 2014.

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

"Manned, pressurized rovers will be an important element supporting human lunar exploration, which we envision will take place in the 2030s".

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"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.

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. Moreover, it is exposed to radiation and temperature conditions that are much harsher than those on Earth, as well as an ultra-high vacuum environment.

Toyota Motor Corp, one of the world's largest automakers, and Japan's space agency said on Tuesday they had agreed to cooperate in developing a manned lunar rover that runs on fuel cell technologies. The rover promises a lunar cruising range of 10,000km.

The rover will be delivered to the Moon without any astronauts on board, but will then drive to meet the first pair who arrive to use it. In total, four expeditions are now planned that require use of the rover to traverse the Moon's surface.

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JAXA and Toyota have been working together to study the plan since May 2018, and have now reached an agreement to move on to the next steps.

The space agency is hoping to launch a rover by 2029, with human exploration missions to follow not long after.

"Being allowed to be a member of "Team Japan", we would like to take up the challenge of space", he said.

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