TOYOTA has partnered with the Japanese space agency to create a “caravan” cruiser to the Moon.
It is hoped that astronauts will be able to live, work and travel inside the giant space shuttle by 2040.
Space travelers will even be able to live inside the minibus without wearing a spacesuit.
The Jaxa space agency has revealed early concept images and a video of the “manned drone”.
It has six large wheels with a rugged exterior for smooth rolling over jagged landscapes.
And there are large panes of glass at the front so the astronauts can get a glimpse of where they’re going – although the pilot will be able to fly on his own.
And the entire system is expected to be powered by hydrogen fuel cells (which already exist in some Toyota vehicles on Earth) and solar energy.
That’s good news for environmentalists, as it means the vehicle will only emit air and wastewater.
Hiroshi Yamakawa, president of Jaxa, said: “The fact that Toyota joins us in the challenge of international space exploration significantly strengthens our confidence.
“Manned aircraft with pressurized cabins is a factor that will play an important role in the full exploration and use of the lunar surface.”
The giant “minibus” is 6 meters long, 5.2 meters wide and 3.8 meters high.
And inside, the astronauts will be able to enjoy about 13 cubic meters of space – enough for two people to exist in relative comfort.
Jaxa also said that the pressurized craft would have a “total lunar surface range” of more than 10,000 kilometers (~6,200 miles).
Jaxa VP Koichi Wakata said: “The Moon’s gravity is 1/6 of that of Earth.
“Meanwhile, the moon has a complex topography with craters, cliffs and hills.
“Furthermore, it is exposed to radiation and temperature conditions much harsher than on Earth, as well as an extremely high vacuum.
“For large-scale human exploration of the moon, a pressurized aircraft that can travel more than 10,000 kilometers in such an environment is needed.”
However, it is unlikely that astronauts would stay in a hovercraft over such long distances.
In any case, the Japanese space agency hopes that the system can be put into operation as early as 2029, giving Toyota plenty of time to experiment.
“The auto industry has long been in business with the concept of ‘hometown’ and ‘homeland’,” said Toyota President Akio Toyoda.
“But from now on, to deal with issues like environmental problems on a global scale, the concept of ‘home planet’, from which we all come, will become a concept. very important concept.
“Beyond the framework of countries or regions, I believe that our industry, constantly thinking about the role it must play, has the same aspirations for international space exploration.
“Moreover, cars are used in all regions of the Earth, and in some areas, cars play an active role as partners to ensure that people come back to life.
“And I think the exact resurrection is essential in this project.
“I am extremely pleased that for this project expectations have been placed on the durability and driving performance that has been developed so far in Toyota vehicles and our fuel cell environmental technology. “
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8278896/toyota-java-space-cruiser-moon/ Toyota plans to let people live on MOON in ‘moon caravan’ by 2040