TOKYO—The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Toyota Motor Corporation recently formalized a three-year joint research agreement for the development of a manned, pressurized lunar rover. The vehicle will utilize fuel cell electric vehicle technologies
The deal calls for joint manufacturing, testing, and prototype evaluations, with the goal of developing a manned, pressurized lunar rover that could be used to explore the surface of the moon or other planets. The parties hope to have the rover in final form by 2029.
It is being designed for missions to explore the moon's polar regions, including investigating the possibility of using the moon's resources, such as frozen water. The current project three-year timeline is as follows:
2019 - Identify technological elements that need to be developed for driving on the surface of the moon, including specifications for a rover prototype. The project team will be expanded to include approximately 30 members.
2020 - Manufacture test parts and build a rover prototype.
2021 - Test and evaluate both the manufactured test parts and the rover prototype.