Japanese car maker Toyota is building a rover that will be used to explore the moon.
The company are working with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to make the vehicle suitable for a 10,000km (over 6,200 miles) journey on the lunar surface.
In a press release written by the space agency, they said that the rover will be the size of two microbuses. The vehicle will also be capable of accommodating two astronauts and up to four in an emergency.
Toyota’s pressurised rover will be powered by the Japanese car company’s fuel-cell technology, which uses solar energy. Because the manned rovers will have a pressurised cabin, it means that astronauts won’t have to wear helmets in the vehicle.
Speaking about the partnership with Toyota, JAXA’s president Hiroshi Yamakawa said it was an important collaboration:
Having Toyota join us in the challenge of international space exploration greatly strengthens our confidence. Manned rovers with pressurized cabins are an element that will play an important role in full-fledged exploration and use of the lunar surface.
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.
JAXA is aiming to launch this new rover by 2029. With Japan not working on rocket that will be able to carry humans to the moon, they are hoping that the launch of this rover will be part of an international project. China, India and Israel are all launching their own unmanned missions to the moon this year, with our satellite being the subject of further exploration. In can only be a matter of time before we have humans back on the moon again soon.
Only Russia, the US, and China have successfully landed spacecraft on the moon. Toyota’s brand new rover could make travelling on the moon easier than it’s ever been before.
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Matt Weston is a lover of electric cars, artificial intelligence and space. From Cornwall, he’s a UCLan graduate that still dreams of being a Formula One driver in the very near future. Previously work includes reporting for regional newspapers and freelance video for the International Business Times.