Japanese automaker Toyota Motor is forging ahead with strategies to tackle extraterrestrial terrain.
The Japanese automaker announced their plans on March 12 to work with Japan’s space agency to develop the moon rover of the future – a fuel-cell powered behemoth that allows astronauts to live inside it without using space suits.
Fuel cells utilize clean power generation methods and emit only water.
A joint agreement between Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor allows the two companies to officially start researching and developing the rover.
JAXA is preparing to send manned missions to the moon between 2029 and 2034.
“The automotive industry has long done business with the concepts of ‘hometown’ and ‘home country’ largely in mind,” stated Toyota President, Akio Toyoda in the joint announcement. “However, from now on, in responding to such matters as environmental issues of global scale, the concept of ‘home planet,’ from which all of us come, will become a very important concept.”
The aim is to assist building a more sustainable future for world, the two companies stated.
The initial design for the pressurized, six-wheeled vehicle calls for enough living space to comfortably support two passengers. In the event of an emergency, however, the rover could endure four crew members.
With a range of over 6,200 miles, the vehicle will be no less than 20 feet long, 17 feet wide and 12.4 feet high.
Officials from Japan’s space agency stated that JAXA and Toyota have been working on this project since May last year.
JAXA officials state that building a rugged sports utility vehicle for lunar traveling does have its obstacles.
“Lunar gravity is one-sixth of that on Earth. Meanwhile, the moon has a complex terrain with craters, cliffs, and hills,” stated astronaut Koichi Wakata, JAXA’s vice president.