The Japanese automobile company Toyota and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) present the "LUNAR CRUISER", a manned all-terrain vehicle that will be used by the Japan Space Agency in special missions and continuous activity on the lunar surface
The Japanese automobile company Toyota and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) present the "LUNAR CRUISER", a manned all-terrain vehicle that will be used by the Japan Space Agency in special missions and continuous activity on the lunar surface.
Such vehicles operated in the last three Apollo missions 15,16,17 and allowed the astronauts to cover greater distances on the lunar surface. However, these vehicles were open, and the astronauts sat in them wearing space suits.
The Lunar Cruiser, the manned lunar rover is produced by the Toyota company and the Japanese Space Agency as part of their collaboration signed about a year ago. The vehicle is currently in the joint research process of the two, and uses Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) technologies. Its launch is expected to take place in the second half of the 2020 decade.
The decision on the Rover's name was made recently, 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 covered by 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 perception that is especially correct for the lunar rover that is supposed to move around in the harsh environment of the moon.
As mentioned last year, on June 13, 2019, the Japanese space agency JAXA and the Toyota company signed an agreement for joint research on a manned lunar rover with a pressure chamber, and are currently working together to produce the prototype of the vehicle, while testing every 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 research includes the use of virtual reality and full-size models to examine the arrangement of equipment in the Lunar Cruiser's cabin.
As part of the efforts to find new partners for Team Japan ("Team Japan"), a team led by the Japan Space Agency, Toyota and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries established in August 2019, the Japan Space Agency and Toyota are meeting with various industries on the topic of "a pioneering lunar company driven by a manned rover Press team room", as well as the challenges involved in creating such a company. These meetings focus on the question of how a vehicle of this type will become the springboard for the vision of the society that will settle on the lunar soil.
Also in order to achieve its 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 dedicated working groups were established for the project and one meeting was held on the topic of joint establishment of a company on the lunar soil as part of which, approximately 100 registered companies participated.
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