Published: Wed, March 13, 2019
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Toyota aims for the moon with fuel cell lunar rover

Toyota aims for the moon with fuel cell lunar rover

The carmaker is working with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency to build a pressurized rover for exploring the moon. "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 ideal for the project being discussed with JAXA", said Toyota Executive Vice President Terashi.

Toyota has revealed the autonomous rover it could soon send to the moon.

Toyota President, Akio Toyoda said, "Going beyond the frameworks of countries or regions, I believe that our industry, which is constantly thinking about the role it should fulfil shares the same aspirations of global space exploration". The 13m² cabin will house two astronauts, and the solar-fuel-cell vehicle is created to have a range of 10,000km.

The Japanese space agency is planning to launch human exploration missions in the 2030s.

Toyota and JAXA are eyeing the rover for future manned missions to the moon where mobility is critical.

But first, it will need the technology to support them.

'Meanwhile, the moon has a complex terrain with craters, cliffs, and hills.

Toyota is an off-road specialist brand that manufactures and sells more 4x4 vehicles globally than any other auto company, so it was the logical choice for the new moon rover, or should we say "Moon Cruiser".

The space agency is hoping to launch a rover by 2029, with human exploration missions to follow not long after.

'For wide ranging human exploration of the moon, a pressurized rover that can travel more than 10,000 km in such environments is necessary'.

The rover will be delivered to the Moon without any astronauts on board, but will then drive to meet the first pair who arrive to use it.

"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", Yamakawa continued.

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