Earlier this year, Toyota and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced that they were in talks to built a future exploration vehicle that will be sent to the moon. Now, the two companies have officially signed a three-year joint agreement to develop a manned, pressurized, lunar rover. While it looks more like a motorhome, the lunar vehicle will be utilizing Toyota’s fuel cell technology for power and to get around the moon.
The two have also released a timeline as to when we might see the Toyota lunar rover, with the manufacturing of necessary components to begin in 2020. Meanwhile, testing of the parts will start in 2021. However, a full-scale prototype of the rover will only be ready in 2022. The full production version of the lunar rover is expected to get into a rocket and drive on the moon by 2029.
Safe to say, it will be a while before we get to see the Toyota lunar rover in the metal. According to the preliminary parameters though, the lunar rover will measure in 6 meters long, 5.2 meters wide, and 3.8 meters tall. Inside, there will be 13 square meters of living space which can accommodate two people comfortably or four in case of an emergency.
JAXA plans to use the rover for numerous missions which include exploring the moon’s polar region. It will also be used to investigate the possibility of frozen water on the moon. The vehicle will also be used as a testbed for “acquiring technologies that enable exploration of the surfaces of massive heavenly bodies”.
I guess Toyota can really go anywhere, even the moon.