Today we bring you some out of this world Toyota news which - thankfully - doesn’t involve an old Space Cruiser MPV we’ve dug out of the classifieds.
The manufacturer has announced that it’s been working together with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) since May 2018 on a pressurised moon rover, a joint project which the two parties are now looking to ‘accelerate’. In fact, the aim is to launch the vehicle - depicted in these renderings - into space as soon as 2029.
The vehicle will be six metres long, 5.2 metres wide and 3.8 metres high. Inside its pressurised cabin there’s a 13-metre square living space which two people can call home. Or in an emergency, four.
It’ll be powered by “fuel cell and electric vehicle technologies,” rather like Toyota’s Mirai road car. “Fuel cells, which use clean power-generation methods, emit only water,” Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi, said, adding, “because of their high energy density, can provide a lot of energy, making them especially suited for the project being discussed with Jaxa.”
The rover will be able to travel “more than 10,000km” of the moon’s surface, and be capable of tackling craters, cliffs and big hills, all while in an environment with just one-sixth of Earth’s gravity.
The moon rover is only the start. Toyota calls it the “first step” in its relationship with Jaxa. Who knows, one day there may be a Toyota on Mars, or even further afield…