Toyota is working on a moon rover

Katie Ramirez
March 15, 2019

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.

An FCV is a type of electric vehicle that uses a fuel cell of oxygen and compressed hydrogen instead of using a battery. The rover promises a lunar cruising range of 10,000km.

Worldwide space exploration, aiming to achieve sustainable prosperity for humankind by expanding the domain of human activity and giving rise to intellectual properties, has its sights set on the moon and Mars.

It might seem an unusual move for a vehicle manufacturer to venture into such a market, but with Toyota often being at the forefront of environmental technology, there is method behind the bold announcement. The entire system will be powered by Toyota's fuel-cell technology.

The rover will be designed in such a way to allow astronauts to live in to without having to wear any spacesuits on.

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"I'm really excited", Shigeki Terashi, an executive vice president of Toyota, told a symposium held by JAXA in Tokyo.

"It's an extremely challenging project, and we have high hopes for Toyota's technology", Koichi Wakata, an astronaut who has flown in NASA's Space Shuttle and served as the first Japanese commander of the International Space Station, said at a JAXA event. The LRVs remain on the surface of the moon, along with unmanned rovers from Russian Federation and China. It's similar to how SpaceX has worked with NASA in the US for expanded space exploration.

Toyota, whose Prius is the bestselling hybrid electric vehicle of all time, framed the potential lunar rover as part of its greater global strategy for cars on Earth. Through our collaboration with Toyota as the starting point, we can further expand the resources of "Team Japan" in the continued pursuit of worldwide space exploration.

The automaker's gasoline cells use clear energy-era strategies and exclusively emit water and have lowered quantities of unsafe substances that the automotive firm is working to enhance, Toyota Government Vice President Shigeki Terashi stated Tuesday. Toyota would build a lunar rover for the future JAXA moon mission. We want to further improve on this characteristic. JAXA plans to launch the vehicle ahead of a manned expedition in the next few years. It will feature a living space of 13 cubic meters (459 cubic feet) and be capable of accommodating two people under regular operations and four in an emergency.

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