In about 10 years, Toyota hopes to be shuttling people around the moon.
The vehicle, which is still in the conceptual stage, will be 6 meters (20 feet) long, or about the size of two minibuses, according to Toyota (TM). The company has been studying the possibility of making the rover since last summer, but it signed a new agreement this week to accelerate the project with JAXA, Japan’s space agency.
“Manned rovers with pressurized cabins are an element that will play an important role in full-fledged exploration and use of the lunar surface,” JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa said in a statement. The agency expects that to happen in the 2030s.
Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said the project shows confidence in the “durability and driving performance” of the automaker’s vehicles and its fuel cell technology for powering electric cars.
The automaker has teamed up with Japan’s space agency to build a fuel cell-powered electric lunar rover that they aim to send into space in 2029.
The vehicle will be able to carry two people and travel thousands of miles across the moon’s surface, the company announced this week. The rover will be designed to enable astronauts to live in it without having to wear spacesuits.