Japan Announces Plans to Send Toyota to the Moon

13 Mars, 2019, 03:22 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Toyota revealed its plans for a manned pressurized moon rover it hopes to land on the moon in 2029 in collaboration with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency

Toyota's next challenge is out of this world.

The automaker's fuel cells use clean power-generation methods and only emit water and have reduced amounts of harmful substances that the vehicle company is working to improve, Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi said Tuesday.

The original manned moon rover was the Boeing LRV (Lunar Roving Vehicle), which was used during the Apollo space missions in the early 1970s. "Manned rovers with pressurized cabins are an element that will play an important role in full-fledged exploration and use of the lunar surface".

Today, Toyota announced a somewhat vague agreement with JAXA that could result in a revolutionary lunar rover.

"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. Solar panels will also be equipped to the exterior of the rover for supplementary power needs and to top up the fuel cell when possible.

But first, it will need the technology to support them.

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

The six-wheeled vehicle looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, and if we see research stations and even settlements on the Moon in the not-too-distant future, Toyota's fancy rover could become the vehicle of choice.

Power for the rover will be provided by an integrated fuel cell with enough power for 10,000km of driving. Three LRVs went to the moon on separate Apollo missions (15, 16 and 17) and each of them was driven on the moon surface three times, one per day during the time the astronauts were there. In total, four expeditions are now planned that require use of the rover to traverse the Moon's surface.

"We aim to launch such a rover into space in 2029".

"At JAXA, we are pursuing global coordination and technological studies toward Japan's participation in worldwide space exploration".

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