Neglected for several decades, the Moon is once again coveted. The Japanese automaker Toyota has unveiled the first images of its exploration vehicle. A machine 5.2 meters wide, 3.8 meters high and 6 meters long.
Designed in collaboration with JAXA (Japanese Space Exploration Agency), it will accommodate two people (and up to four in case of emergency). "Manned and pressurized rovers will be an important part of supporting human lunar exploration […] we intend to launch such a rover in space in 2029"said Koichi Wakata, vice president of JAXA.
Up to 10,000 kilometers of autonomy?
It will have solar panels to power the secondary systems, but the propulsion will pass through a hydrogen fuel cell – a technology that is already found on the Toyota Mirai – and that would allow it to travel up to 10,000 kilometers. "Fuel cells, which use clean energy production methods, emit only water and, because of their high energy density can provide a lot of energy, which makes them ideal for the project under discussion with the JAXA"said Shigeki Terashi, vice president at Toyota.
But the real challenge will be to offer a vehicle that is reliable and efficient enough to move in a hostile environment like the Moon. Remember for example that the temperature can reach 120 degrees in the sun and up to -180 degrees in the shade. Cosmic radiation can quickly become a problem, as can the lunar dust that completely covers the surface.