Toyota will develop a manned fuel-cell lunar rover

Toyota prepares to go into space

The moon as seen from Mike Magee's back garden. Courtesy of Mike Magee

Under the plan, the rover, deployed from the Gateway, will travel on the moon's surface close to the south pole for five explorations between 2029 and 2034.

The auto company teamed up with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to develop a pressurized vehicle capable of carrying astronauts on the lunar surface without the need for space suits.

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 (JAXA).

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said the project shows confidence in the "durability and driving performance" of the automaker's vehicles and its fuel cell technology for powering electric cars.

With recent space exploration from China and developments for SpaceX in the United States of America, the space race is again hotting up with nations striving to explore further and spend extended times in space and on the surface of 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. "We aim at launching such a rover into space in 2029", he added.

"Manned, pressurized rovers will be an important element supporting human lunar exploration, which we envision will take place in the 2030s". JAXA president Hiroshi Yamakawa said that the cooperation between it and Toyota could generate spin-off benefits. And I think that coming back alive is exactly what is needed in this project.

During a symposium on Tuesday, March 12 in Tokyo, Toyota executive vice president Shigeki Terashi expresses his excitement at the automotive company's new project and explains the value of state-of-the-art fuel cell technology. As part of this, both the organisations will first work towards the development of a lunar rover.

JAXA will cooperate with Toyota on technologies to purify water and air in the vehicle.

Toyota's next challenge is out of this world. Through our collaboration with Toyota as the starting point, we can further expand the resources of "Team Japan" in the continued pursuit of global space exploration.

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