Space is the dream of the world’s largest companies. Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation is no exception. You have just signed a joint research agreement to work on a manned pressurized lunar rover with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

JAXA and Toyota have announced that the hydrogen-powered rover, which will help humanity explore the surface of the Moon, and one day also Mars, has been dubbed the “LUNAR CRUISER”.

The moniker LUNAR CRUISER was chosen for the familiar feeling it offers to those involved in the development and manufacture of the prototype vehicle as part of the joint research project, as well as the familiarity it will bring to the general public. .», Explains the Japanese agency, in a joint statement with Toyota. The name, which refers to the Toyota Land Cruiser SUV, was decided based on the expected quality, durability and reliability of the pressurized lunar rover. In addition, it will travel through the unknown and difficult environment of the Moon’s surface.

The six-wheeler would be around six meters long, five meters wide and about 3.8 meters high, with a living area of ​​13 cubic meters. It is designed for two people, but can carry up to four people in an emergency and has a range of over 10,000 km. Using the combination of fuel cells and photovoltaic solar panels, the MOON CRUISE You can recycle water into hydrogen to increase its autonomy.

Currently, the companies are in the design part of the project, which includes “identifying the technological elements that need to be developed in the rover and working out specifications for the prototype”, shortly thereafter they will manufacture the parts and a prototype rover, to be evaluated in 2021.

The research also includes the use of simulations to confirm energy performance and heat dissipation during driving, the manufacture and evaluation of prototype tires, and the use of virtual reality and life-size models to consider the layout. equipment in the cabin.

It is planned to have a full-scale model in 2022 with which to carry out the first data collections, build a working prototype in 2024 and, already in 2029, create the model that will fly to the Moon.