Well-known car manufacturer Toyota has unveiled an unexpected collaboration with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The two are working together on a lunar rover which should be ready for launch by 2029, and it would serve for a future moon mission.
JAXA spends a lot of time on the research of targeted technologies that could be used to make future missions easier. The construction of a functional pressurized rover would allow humans to explore the surface of the moon more easily as they will be able to travel faster to different points of interests.
According to a joint press release the project is already in the first stages of development. The lunar vehicle will employ advanced fuel cell technology which should deliver a cruising range of approximately 6,000 miles on the lunar surface, which is quite a feat since the amount of fuel will be quite limited.
The fuel cells will be able to use clean power-generation capabilities, emitting only water as a side product and dramatically reducing the number of harmful substances that are currently used.
Toyota and JAXA work on a lunar rover for a future moon mission
At this stage, the lunar rover may be as big as two buses, measuring 19.6 feet in length, 17 feet in width, and a height of 12.4 feet, according to the press statement.
This project highlights, once again, the fact that space agencies from all over the world are moving their focus on the moon again. Recent studies have shown that what was once thought to be an arid place may feature reach underground water reserves that could be exploited by future moon colonists.
Many believe that the establishment of a lunar base is the first step towards space exploration by crewed spacecraft. A lunar base would make the task significantly easier the moon features a lower gravity field which would facilitate the launch of rockets towards the desired targets without the need to consume the same amount of fuel which would be needed in the case of a launch from Earth.
If all goes well the lunar rover designed by Toyota in collaboration with JAXA will be featured at a symposium which is scheduled to take place in 2029.