Toyota Aims to Send Lunar Rover Into Space in 2029

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Toyota, JAXA to develop manned moon probe

The automaker has teamed up with Japan's space agency to build a fuel cell-powered electric lunar rover that they aim to send into space in 2029.

The vehicle, which is expected to make its debut in 2029, is expected to have six wheels and be capable of transporting two humans (four in an emergency) a distance of 10,000 using solar power as well as fuel-cell technology being developed by Toyota.

The announcement also came with photos and videos of Toyota's proposed lunar rover.

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JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa, "Having Toyota join us in the challenge of global space exploration greatly strengthens our confidence".

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. 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.

"Fuel cells, which use clean power-generation methods, emit only water, and, due to their high energy density, they can provide a lot of energy, making them especially suited for the project being discussed with JAXA", Terashi says, adding that the this type of vehicles emit lower amounts of harmful substances. And I think that coming back alive is exactly what is needed in this project. Even with the limited amount of energy that can be transported to the moon, the pressurized rover would have a total lunar-surface cruising range of more than 10,000 km. Moreover, it is exposed to radiation and temperature conditions that are much harsher than those on Earth, as well as an ultra-high vacuum environment. Toyota's "space mobility" concept meets such mission requirements.

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JAXA, which succeeded in February in having the Hayabusa2 probe touch down on a distant asteroid, is now focusing on using the technology to achieve a controlled touchdown on the Moon's surface.

Toyota is to build a self-driving lunar rover that will enable astronauts to travel on the surface of the moon without space suits, as Japan raises the stakes amid renewed worldwide interest in lunar exploration. JAXA plans to collaborate with others as "Team Japan" sets their sights on the space exploration.

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