Honda won't build a moon rover, but will provide energy systems to keep people alive
Toyota won't be the only Japanese automaker going to the moon. Honda announced they plan to begin a joint feasibility study on a “circulative renewable energy system” in space designed to supply oxygen, hydrogen, and electricity together with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
As mentioned, the automaker will be working on a renewable energy system for astronauts. So no, Honda won't be building a moon rover like Toyota's Lunar Cruiser. But instead, they'll be focused on preparing and keeping humans alive living on the moon for a long time. It's equally important too. You can't go and explore the moon if you don't have living quarters with oxygen, water, food, and electricity.
With no oxygen to breathe while in space, oxygen will have to be generated through other means. It's the same story with electricity. While they can ask for constant resupplies from Earth, it will be inefficient and costly. One solution then is to create a renewable energy system. According to Honda, the system “combines a high differential pressure water electrolysis system that produces oxygen and hydrogen using solar energy to electrolyze water and a fuel cell system that generates electricity and water from oxygen and hydrogen.”
The description of how it works may be difficult to comprehend. What's important is the use of Honda's fuel cell technology to make the system work. Just like Toyota, Honda is one of the few automakers that sell and develop vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Subsequently, the high differential pressure water electrolysis system will also be built by Honda. The automaker says it does not require a compressor to compress hydrogen, making it compact and lightweight, perfect for space transportation.
This year, Honda and JAXA will develop several prototypes and begin feasibility testing. According to the space agency, a follow-up on the results will be announced in 2022.