The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corporation announced that they have signed a three-year joint research agreement, running from 2019 to 2021 to produce a manned, pressurised lunar rover that uses fuel cell electric vehicle technologies. Over the course of the three-year joint research period, JAXA and Toyota will manufacture, test and evaluate prototypes, with the goal of developing a manned, pressurised lunar rover and exploring the surface of the moon as part of an international project.
In the course of the three years, the first year will be spent in identifying technological elements that need to be developed for driving on the surface of the moon; drawing up specifications for a prototype rover. The second year will see them manufacturing test parts for each technological element and in the final year the testing and evaluation of the manufactured test parts and the prototype rover will be the main focus.
The rover will be used for missions to explore the moon's polar regions, with the aim both of investigating the possibility of using the rover in exploration of the surfaces of large planets.
JAXA intends to acquire data related to driving technologies in order to develop a manned, pressurised lunar rover. The rover will be used for missions to explore the moon's polar regions, with the aim both of investigating the possibility of using the rover in exploration of the surfaces of large planets.
On July 1 2019, Toyota established a dedicated Lunar Exploration Mobility Works. Toyota plans to extend the department's workforce to approximately 30 members by the end of the year. The tentative plan is to launch the Lunar Rover in 2029.