Toyota to work in collaboration with JAXA for a manned, pressurised lunar rover.
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Toyota Motor Corporation recently announced its decision to collaborate with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in order to “accelerate their ongoing joint study of a manned, pressurized rover that employs fuel cell electric vehicle technologies.” According to Toyota, this rover of theirs would have a total lunar-surface cruising range of over 10,000 kilometres.
“Manned rovers with pressurized cabins are an element that will play an important role in full-fledged exploration and use of the lunar surface. For this, we would like to concentrate our country's technological abilities and conduct technological studies,” commented JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa. “Through our joint studies going forward, we would like to put to use Toyota's excellent technological abilities related to mobility, and we look forward to the acceleration of our technological studies for the realization of a manned, pressurized rover.”
Even though JAXA has no definite lunar missions planned for the near future, it aims to send humans to the moon in the 2030s. It expects to send a rover like the one being currently studied with Toyota in 2029. In fact, according to JAXA, the two companies have been studying the concept of a manned, pressurised rover since May 2018 and has so far identified key technological issues that must be solved in order to move on.
The manned, pressurised rover in question is expected to use Toyota’s fuel cell technology, which Toyota believes is the way forward in terms of clean power generation. The rover, when built and deployed, is expected to be 6 metres in length, 5.2 metres in width, and 3.8 metres in height. The living space inside is supposed to be 13 metres. JAXA and Toyota’s rover should accommodate two people normally but be enough for four people in an emergency.
Cover image courtesy: Toyota Motor Corporation
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