Toyota Motor Corporation is heading off to the moon. The multinational has teamed up with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to build a pressurized self-driving rover that will let humans explore the moon from the year 2029 inwards.
“Manned, pressurized rovers will be an important element supporting human lunar exploration, which we envision will take place in the 2030s, " said Koichi Wakata, JAXA Vice President. "We aim at launching such a rover into space in 2029."
The plans are for a six-wheeled rover that will be able to transport two astronauts for a distance of 10,000 kilometers on solar power and Toyota's fuel cell technology. Such a vehicle is said to be essential for the future exploration not only of the moon but also Mars.
The images released so far are just graphic representations and are only meant to serve as a guide. They will probably change over the coming years as the rover is developed and any technical issues ironed out.
Currently, it is thought that the vehicle will be 6 meters long, 5.2 meters wide and 3.8 meters tall. The living space for the two astronauts will be approximately 13 square meters. Once inside the rover, they will be able to take off their spacesuits.
It is expected that the pressurized rover will land on the moon before the arrival of humans and then meet them when they land.
For a few insights into how rover might operate watch the short video below.