The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota announce their agreement to consider the possibility of collaborating on international space exploration. As a first step, JAXA and Toyota have reached agreement to further cooperate on and accelerate their ongoing joint study of a manned, pressurized rover that employs fuel cell electric vehicle technologies. “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”, said Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota.

Lunar gravity is one-sixth of that on Earth. Meanwhile, the moon has a complex terrain with craters, cliffs, and hills. Moreover, it is exposed to radiation and temperature conditions that are much harsher than those on Earth. For wide ranging human exploration of the moon, a pressurized rover that can travel more than 10,000 km in such environments is a necessity. Toyota’s ‘space mobility’ concept meets such mission requirements. “Toyota and JAXA have been jointly studying the concept of a manned, pressurized rover since May of 2018. Thus far, our joint study, has examined a preliminary concept for a manned, pressurized rover system, and we have identified the technological issues that must be solved. Going forward, we want to utilize Toyota’s and Jaxa’s technologies, human resources, and knowledge, among others, to continuously solve those issues”, said Koichi Wakata, Java vice president.