The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has reached an agreement with Toyota to cooperate on the development of a manned, pressurised lunar rover.

The agreement is part of JAXA and Toyota’s wider plans to explore collaboration on a planned mission to the Moon and international space exploration. The partnership aims to make future lunar mobility a reality.

According to the joint press release, the proposed rover is expected to have a total lunar-surface cruising range of more than 10,000km to support wide-ranging human exploration of the Moon.

JAXA aims to launch the rover into space in 2029. The vehicle is powered by fuel cell electric-vehicle technologies.

“Having Toyota join us in the challenge of international space exploration greatly strengthens our confidence.”

In addition, the space agency has been jointly working with Toyota on a conceptual study on a manned and pressurised rover since last May under a cooperation agreement.

The latest agreement will look to accelerate the ongoing study.

JAXA president Hiroshi Yamakawa said: “At JAXA, we are pursuing international coordination and technological studies toward Japan’s participation in international space exploration.

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“Having Toyota join us in the challenge of international space exploration greatly strengthens our confidence. Manned rovers with pressurised cabins are an element that will play an important role in full-fledged exploration and use of the lunar surface.

“Through our joint studies going forward, we would like to put to use Toyota’s excellent technological abilities related to mobility, and we look forward to the acceleration of our technological studies for the realisation of a manned, pressurised rover.”

For Toyota, the opportunity to develop the rover that runs on fuel cell technologies will allow it to test its technologies in the Moon’s harsh environment and thereby further its plans to promote the widespread use of electrified vehicles on Earth.

Based on the concept proposal, the rover will measure 6m in length, 5.2m in width and have a height of 3.8m.

With a living space of 13m³, the vehicle will be able to accommodate two people and an additional two persons in an emergency.