Toyota Motor and Japan’s space agency stated on Tuesday they had agreed to work together in developing a manned lunar rover that operates on fuel cell technologies.
Although Japan has no plan at present to make a manned rocket that could send humans into space, the rover could be a significant contribution to an international space probe program in the future, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) stated.
The rover “will be an important element supporting human lunar exploration, which we envision will take place in the 2030s”, JAXA Vice President Koichi Wakata informed a symposium in Tokyo.
“We aim to launch such a rover into space in 2029.”
The rover is still in the conceptual stage, but an illustration in the news release uncovered a six-wheel vehicle that somewhat looked like an armored personnel carrier.
A spokesman for Toyota, which plans to ramp up fuel-cell cars as a zero-emission option to gasoline vehicles, stated the project would give the company a chance to test its technologies in the moon’s harsh environment and enhance them.
Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi stressed the enthusiasm that comes with participating in a space project.
“As an engineer, there is no greater joy than being able to participate in a lunar project by way of Toyota’s car-making,” Terashi told the symposium.
“Being allowed to be a member of ‘Team Japan’, we would like to take up the challenge of space,” he stated.