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Japanese carmaker Toyota has revealed that it will be building Japan's pressurised Moon Rover. Toyota has signed an agreement with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and has proposed a concept vehicle that will explore the lunar surface.
The Toyota Moon Rover Concept for JAXA measures in at 6.0-metres long, 5.2-metres wide and 3.8-metres tall, which is around the size of two microbuses combined. The pressurised Moon Rover offers a living space of 13 cubic metres, which Toyota claims can accommodate two people comfortably. However, Toyota claims that the Moon Rover will able to fit four people in case of an emergency.
Powering the Toyota Moon Rover concept will be 'fuel cell electric vehicle technologies' similar to what the Japanese carmaker used in its current Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. However, unlike modern electric vehicles, Toyota claims the Moon Rover will be able to cover more than 10,000 kilometres of the Lunar surface on a single charge.
Speaking about the Moon Rover, Toyota President Akio Toyoda said, "The automotive industry has long done business with the concepts of 'hometown' and 'home country' largely in mind. 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. Going beyond the frameworks of countries or regions, I believe that our industry, which is constantly thinking about the role it should fulfill, shares the same aspirations of international space exploration. Furthermore, cars are used in all of Earth's regions, and, in some regions, cars play active roles as partners for making sure that people come back alive. And I think that coming back alive is exactly what is needed in this project. I am extremely happy that, for this project, expectations have been placed on the thus-far developed durability and driving performance of Toyota vehicles and on our fuel cell environmental technologies."
JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa said also voiced his thoughts on the partnership between JAXA and Toyota. He said, "At JAXA, we are pursuing international coordination and technological studies toward Japan's participation in international space exploration. We aim to contribute through leading Japanese technologies that can potentially generate spin-off benefits. Having Toyota join us in the challenge of international space exploration greatly strengthens our confidence. Manned rovers with pressurized cabins are an element that will play an important role in full-fledged exploration and use of the lunar surface. For this, we would like to concentrate our country's technological abilities and conduct technological studies. 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."