With recent space exploration from China and developments for SpaceX in the US, the space race is again hotting up with nations striving to explore further and spend extended times in space and on the surface of the moon.
The agreement is meant to promote Japanese technological knowhow.
Going beyond the frameworks of countries or regions, I believe that our industry, which is constantly thinking about the role it should fulfill, shares the same aspirations of worldwide space exploration. For this, we would like to concentrate our country's technological abilities and conduct technological studies.
Toyota is an off-road specialist brand that manufactures and sells more 4x4 vehicles globally than any other auto company, so it was the logical choice for the new moon rover, or should we say "Moon Cruiser".
Toyota president Akio Toyodo said that cars, even now on our planet, play active roles in "making sure that people come back alive". And I think that coming back alive is exactly what is needed in this project.
JAXA is studying various scenarios as well as technologies that will be applied to specific space missions.
Toyota Motor Corp. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency have joined hands to develop the first lunar vehicle that astronauts can use without wearing spacesuits.
"We aim to launch such a rover into space in 2029".
'Lunar gravity is one-sixth of that on Earth, ' explained JAXA Vice President Koichi Wakata. Meanwhile, the moon has a complex terrain with craters, cliffs, and hills.
Toyota is to build a self-driving lunar rover that will enable astronauts to travel on the surface of the moon without space suits, as Japan raises the stakes amid renewed global interest in lunar exploration.
The original manned moon rover was the Boeing LRV (Lunar Roving Vehicle), which was used during the Apollo space missions in the early 1970s.
JAXA will cooperate with Toyota on technologies to purify water and air in the vehicle. To take up such a challenge, we believe it is important to gather our country's technological capabilities and engage as "Team Japan".