Toyota unveiled the lunar SUV in partnership with the Japanese space agency
The Japanese car company Toyota and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) are introducing the “LUNAR CRUISER”, a manned SUV that will be used by the Space Agency in Japan for special missions and continuous operations on lunar soil.
The Lunar Cruiser, TOYOTA Credit
Such vehicles have operated in the last three Apollo missions 15,16,17 and allowed astronauts to swallow greater distances on the lunar surface. However, these vehicles were open, and the astronauts sat in them clad in space suits.
The Lunar Cruiser, the manned lunar rover, is manufactured by Toyota and the Japanese Space Research Agency as part of a collaboration signed between them about a year ago. The vehicle is currently in a joint research process of the two, using fuel cell-based electric vehicle (FCEV) technologies. Its launch is expected to take place in the second half of the 2020 decade.
The decision to name the Rover was recently made, and is derived from the name of the Land Cruiser, Toyota’s famous SUV. This is due to the quality, reliability and durability that characterize the cruiser vehicle, and are coated with a lunar vehicle with a pressure chamber that allows the space crew to stay without a space suit. Also Toyota’s perception of the Land Cruiser is that it is designed to “bring people home alive”, a concept that is especially true for the lunar rover that is supposed to move around in the harsh environment of the moon
Eugene Sarnan drives on the lunar rover during the Apollo 17 mission to the moon, December 11, 1972. Source: NASA.
As mentioned last year, on June 13, 2019, the Japanese space agency JAXA and Toyota signed a joint research agreement on a manned spacecraft with a pressure chamber, and are currently working together to produce the prototype of the vehicle, testing any relevant technological element for it. The work of the two involves the use of simulations aimed at confirming the power and heat dissipation performance of the vehicle while driving, and the production and evaluation of the prototype tires. In addition the study includes the use of virtual reality and full-size models to examine the arrangement of equipment in the cabin of the Lunar Cruiser.
As part of the efforts to find new partners for the Japan Team (“Team Japan”), a team led by the Japanese Space Research Agency, Toyota and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries established in August 2019, the Japanese Space Agency and Toyota are meeting with various industries on the subject ” Pressure Cabin “, and on the challenges involved in creating such a company. These meetings focus on how this type of vehicle will become the springboard of the vision of the company that will settle on the lunar soil.
Also in order to achieve their goal, Toyota and the space agency will gather the knowledge, experience and technological capabilities needed for the project from a variety of organizations and industries, as progress is made among the “Japan team”. Up to this stage, three working groups dedicated to the project were established and one meeting was held on the subject of the joint establishment of a company on the lunar soil in the framework of which about 100 registered companies participated.
Eyal Avidov-Lt. Col. (Ret.)
Representative of the News247WorldPress in Israel
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