Japan’s NASA-equivalent JAXA has not quite bought a Toyota that will go to the moon, but it has taken first steps towards the purchase. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Toyota have signed a three-year joint research contract towards a manned, pressurized lunar rover that uses Toyota’s fuel cell electric vehicle technology, Toyota said today.
Last March, JAXA and Toyota said they would be looking into such a joint venture, and after four months of looking, the contract was finally signed.
Over the course of a three-year joint research period, JAXA and Toyota will manufacture, test, and evaluate prototypes, with the goal of developing a manned, pressurized lunar rover and exploring the surface of the moon as part of an international project. JAXA wants to go to the moon by the end of the decade, and it won’t be content with just a pedestrian moonwalk. The rover it wants to heave to the moon will be the size of a big RV.