Toyota Reveals Pressurized Moon Rover Designed for JAXA

Presently only a limited number of car companies are involved in space exploration efforts to some extent, but none of them actually build vehicles for use on other celestial bodies.
Toyota Moon Rover 9 photos
Photo: Toyota via Youtube
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That will change soon, as Toyota and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) agreed this week to accelerate the jointly development of “a manned, pressurized rover […] for human exploration activities on the lunar surface.”

To be powered by some type of fuel cell and equipped with solar panels, the rover is meant to have a staggering autonomy of 10,000 km (6,123 miles) and be capable of carrying a crew of two people.

In terms of size, the rover, yet unnamed, will be bigger than the average SUV on good-old Earth, and about the same dimensions as two microbuses stacked together: 6 meters in length (9.6 feet) and 3.8 meters in height (12.4 feet). That's enough to create an interior living space of 13 cubic meters.

The rover will have an enclosed body capable of providing all the needed functions and features for the crew to survive and do business without the need for them to be equipped with space suits.

The astronauts will have to wear the suits only to get in and out of the vehicle, but will have enough space inside to be able to take it off.

The rover is supposed to allow being driven by humans, but also be capable of remote or autonomous operation.

Toyota has about ten years to get the rover ready, as JAXA plans to land it on the Moon in 2029. If successful, it will officially become the first machine created by an established carmaker to travel on an extraterrestrial body.

“Going beyond the frameworks of countries or regions, I believe that our industry, which is constantly thinking about the role it should fulfill, shares the same aspirations of international space exploration,” said in a statement Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda.

“I am extremely happy that, for this project, expectations have been placed on the thus-far developed durability and driving performance of Toyota vehicles and on our fuel cell environmental technologies.”

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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