Toyota, with the help of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), intends to allow two astronauts to go for an extended joy ride on the Moon 10 years from now. JAXA is aiming to launch the system in 2029.
Toyota is a leader in fuel cell development back on earth, with many vehicles in testing - while its hydrogen fuel cell-powered Mirai compact auto has been on sale in the USA, Japan and Europe since 2014.
Toyota has revealed the autonomous rover it could soon send to the moon.
"Having Toyota join us in the challenge of worldwide space exploration greatly strengthens our confidence", Hiroshi Yamakawa, JAXA's president, said in the release. The 13m² cabin will house two astronauts, and the solar-fuel-cell vehicle is created to have a range of 10,000km.
Toyota and JAXA are eyeing the rover for future manned missions to the moon where mobility is critical.
Toyota revealed plans for a moon rover in collaboration with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on Tuesday.
But first, it will need the technology to support them. Moreover, it is exposed to radiation and temperature conditions that are much harsher than those on Earth, as well as an ultra-high vacuum environment.
The proposed rover would be "about the size of two microbuses" or about 19.6 feet long, 17 feet wide and 12.4 feet tall, according to the dimensions in the release.
Sending humans back to the Moon is something that NASA and a number of other space agencies around the world are now working towards. As a first step, JAXA and Toyota have reached an agreement to further cooperate on and accelerate their ongoing joint study of a manned, pressurized rover that employs fuel cell electric vehicle technologies.
The rover will be delivered to the Moon without any astronauts on board, but will then drive to meet the first pair who arrive to use it. It's claimed that such a rover could roam on the surface of the moon of over 10,000 kilometres.