The new moon rover to roll out of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) collaboration has made several headlines already. And it would for it is a pressurised cabin on off-road tyres to scamper around the surface that is off our planet. Now, Toyota and JAXA have revealed the most Toyota name possible for the rover – Lunar Cruiser. It isn’t possible to make the ‘Land Cruiser for the Moon’ reference. The Lunar Cruiser is a result of joint research by JAXA and Toyota on a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) with a pressurised cabin for a manned mission.
Toyota states that the name with a reference to Toyota Land Cruiser SUV was settled upon based on the quality, durability, and reliability expected of the pressurised lunar rover.
The agreement for joint research between JAXA and Toyota for a manned pressurised lunar rover was signed on 13 June 2019 and is expected to launch in the latter half of the 2020s. Together, the two institutions are working to manufacture test parts for each technological element, and the prototype rover itself, during this fiscal year (FY2020).
The project is also making use of simulations to confirm power and heat dissipation performance while driving, the manufacture and assessment of prototype tyres, and the use of virtual reality and full-scale models to consider the layout of equipment in the cabin of the Lunar Cruiser.
JAXA and Toyota have been discussing laterally with a variety of industries via study meetings based on the theme of “a lunar society pioneered by the manned pressurized rover” (also known as Team Japan Study Meeting).
The meetings focus on how the manned pressurised rover becomes the starting point of a vision of a future lunar surface-based society while discussing the challenges associated with the creation of this type of society.
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