The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corporation have taken the first steps in launching a Moon rover powered by fuel cells.
The two companies today signed a three-year research agreement, running from fiscal 2019 to fiscal year 2021 to manufacture, test and evaluate prototypes.
The rover will be used for missions to explore the Moon’s polar regions, with the aim of both investigating the possibility of using the Moon’s resources – such as frozen water – and acquiring technologies that enable exploration of the surfaces of massive heavenly bodies.
An overview of the research to be carried is as follows:
- Fiscal year 2019: Identifying technological elements that need to be developed for driving on the surface of the moon; drawing up specifications for a prototype rover
- Fiscal year 2020: Manufacturing test parts for each technological element; manufacturing a prototype rover
- Fiscal year 2021: Testing and evaluating both the manufactured test parts and the prototype rover
On 1st July (2019) Toyota established a dedicated Lunar Exploration Mobility Works. The Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer said it plans to launch the lunar rover in 2029.