The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has signed a three-year joint research agreement with Toyota Motor Corporation for a manned, pressurised lunar rover.

The agreement is valid from the 2019 fiscal year (FY) through FY 2021.

This March, the two companies reached a collaborative agreement on joint research into the manned, pressurised rover, which is powered by fuel cell electric-vehicle technologies.

Under the agreement, JAXA and Toyota will build and test the part and prototypes of a manned, pressurised lunar rover.

As part of the joint research, JAXA and Toyota will focus on identifying the necessary technological elements to allow driving on the surface of the Moon in FY 2019.

The following year, the companies will manufacture test parts for each technological element and the prototype rover.

The manufactured test parts and the prototype rover will be tested and evaluated in FY 2021.

How much of an impact will the COVID-19 outbreak have on the revenue of aerospace companies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

JAXA plans to acquire data from driving technologies for the development of the rover.

The vehicle will be used to explore the Moon’s polar regions for resources such as frozen water. It will also acquire technologies that enable surface exploration on large heavenly bodies.

Earlier this month, Toyota established a dedicated lunar exploration mobility works and intends to expand the department’s workforce to nearly 30 members by the end of this year.

As part of their tentative plans to launch the lunar rover in 2029, the groups are expecting to have a full-scale prototype ready by 2022 and design of the actual flight model by 2024. The quality testing of the flight model is expected to start in 2027.