Toyota Will Build Japan’s Moon Rover
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has announced it plans to land on the moon in 2029 and that its astronauts will explore the lunar surface in a Toyota vehicle.
Specifically, the vehicle will be a manned, pressurized rover using Toyota’s fuel cell technology. “Manned, pressurized rovers will be an important element supporting lunar exploration, which we envision will take place in the 2030s,” said JAXA Vice President Koichi Wakata.
The rover will boast six wheels and be about 18 feet long, 15 feet wide, and 12 feet tall, or roughly the size of about two minibuses. With 13 square meters of habitable space, it will be able to transport two humans — four in an emergency — for a distance of 10,000 kilometers (over 6,200 miles) using its fuel cells and solar power. It will land on the moon before the human expedition arrives, and drive itself to them when it does.
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According to the Toyota press release, it will boast “an enclosed body equipped with functions and space that enable astronauts to live in the vehicle for fixed periods without wearing space suits, that allows ingress and egress while wearing space suits, and that makes sustainable mobility on the surface of a moon or planet by way of astronaut operation, remote operation, or autonomous driving possible.”
JAXA added it hopes the collaboration will Toyota will “give rise to intellectual properties” necessary for international space exploration, and Toyota president Akio Toyoda then made an awkward statement about how cars should actively ensure that people come back from their trip alive, especially the type that go to the moon. Well, duh.
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