This motorhome is going to the moon!
Toyota and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have ended their negotiations and signed a three-year agreement to pursue the development of creating a manned, pressurised lunar rover. The vehicle would make use of Toyota's fuel cell technology to travel around on the moon.
Cars in space:
The newly outlined timetable has Toyota and JAXA drawing up final specifications for the rover during the fiscal year 2019. Manufacturing of the necessary components would begin in 2020. Testing of the parts would happen in 2021.
According to the preliminary parameters, the lunar rover would measure 6 meters long, 5.2 meters wide, and 3.8 meters wide. There would be 13 cubic meters of space on the inside and enough room for two people to operate there. In addition to a fuel cell powertrain, there would be a deployable solar cell for charging onboard batteries.
JAXA wants astronauts to be able to operate from the rover for six weeks at a time, and the vehicle could cover 621 miles (1,000 kilometres). The cabin would be pressurised so that people wouldn't need to wear their suits during that lengthy period.
The groups want to have a full-scale prototype ready by 2022, and they want a full-production variant with the necessary packaging to fit into a rocket by 2027. The 40-minute video below delves deeply into the details of what the groups hope to create.
If this rover ever reaches the moon, JAXA intends to use for exploring the polar regions there, including investigating the frozen water in this area. The organisation also believes that innovations from this machine could contribute to creating transportation methods to cover the surface of other large planets at some point in the far-flung future.