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HomeRVToyota and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are building a moon RV

Toyota and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are building a moon RV


The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have signed an agreement that will see Japan design, develop and operate a vehicle, developed by Toyota by 2031 for the next human mission on the Moon.

Given that the moon has one-sixth the gravity of Earth, temperatures that range from -170 to 120 degrees Celcius, strong radiation and a lunar sand-covered surface, it’s probably a good thing that they’ve got seven years to build it. It doesn’t seem that long though, does it?

Well, Japan has actually been crafting such a vehicle since 2019 alongside Toyota and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and last year, presented initial specs for the “mobile habitat” at nearly 20 feet (6 metres) long, 17 feet (5 metres) wide and 12.5 feet (3.8 metres) tall.

Here’s what it looks like:

The Moon Rover © Toyota
The Moon Rover © Toyota

The Moon RV

According to Toyota, the moon RV will incorporate Toyota’s Regenerative Fuel Cell (RFC) technology to get through lunar nights, which can last for about 14 Earth days. During the day, solar would power a water-fed electrolysis unit which turns the water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen would be converted to electricity at night via fuel cells, which in turn, produces water as a byproduct. This will be sent to the electrolysis unit in the daytime. Due to its experience in marine technology, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is playing a key part in developing the electrolysis unit. Clever, huh?

The moon RV is scheduled for lunar delivery on the Artemis VII mission in 2031, where it will serve as a pressurised base that will enable two astronauts to travel further and work for longer periods on the lunar surface than ever before.  NASA has described it as “a lunar lab, a lunar home, and a lunar explorer”, and it’s intended that the astronauts will be able to reside, work and traverse the lunar surface for up to 30 days as they explore the area near the lunar South Pole on Artemis VII and subsequent missions. Once inside the moon RV, Astronauts will be able to shed their bulky spacesuits and move freely within the vehicle.

The moon RV is expected to be in operation for around 10 years, with a number of astronauts being swapped out over its lifetime. 






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