Toyota prepares to go into space

Space										
		
																	Japan might get an awesome new Moon rover built by Toyota					
								
			
	
		Mike Wehner			@MikeWehner

Toyota has signed an agreement with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and has proposed a concept vehicle that will explore the lunar surface. He said, "At JAXA, we are pursuing global coordination and technological studies toward Japan's participation in worldwide space exploration".

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

JAXA is planning to send manned missions to the moon between 2029 and 2034.

The moon rover is said to be pressurised to allow the astronauts on-board to live and work without having to constantly wear their space suits.

Toyota is a leader in fuel cell development back on earth, with many vehicles in testing - while its hydrogen fuel cell-powered Mirai compact auto has been on sale in the USA, Japan and Europe since 2014.

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 worldwide space exploration.

Toyota president Akio Toyodo said that cars, even now on our planet, play active roles in "making sure that people come back alive". And I think that coming back alive is exactly what is needed in this project.

JAXA and Toyota are aiming to launch the rover in 2029, with human missions to follow in the 2030s.

Lunar gravity is one-sixth of that on Earth. 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.

'Thus far, our joint study, has examined a preliminary concept for a manned, pressurized rover system, and we have identified the technological issues that must be solved, ' Wakata said. In total, four expeditions are now planned that require use of the rover to traverse the Moon's surface.

Toyota and JAXA have already been collaborating on the manned, pressurized rover, according to the release.

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