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The six-wheeled rover, which is still in the conceptual stage, will be powered by a fuel cell and be able to accommodate two people - or four in an emergency - for several weeks at a time, Toyota said, adding it would have a cruising range of more than 6,200 miles (10,000km).

"Going beyond the frameworks of countries or regions, I believe that our industry, which is constantly thinking about the role it should fulfill, shares the same aspirations of global space exploration", Toyoda added. Toyota and JAXA have been jointly studying the concept of a manned, pressurized rover since May of 2018.

JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa, "Having Toyota join us in the challenge of worldwide space exploration greatly strengthens our confidence".

Toyota president Akio Toyodo said that cars, even now on our planet, play active roles in "making sure that people come back alive".

"Manned, pressurized rovers will be an important element supporting human lunar exploration, which we envision will take place in the 2030s".

President of JAXA, Hiroshi Yamakawa said that Toyota joining its mission strengthens the agency's confidence in such a rover. And I think that coming back alive is exactly what is needed in this project.

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The automaker's fuel cells use clean power-generation methods and only emit water and have reduced amounts of harmful substances that the auto company is working to improve, Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi said Tuesday.

'Lunar gravity is one-sixth of that on Earth, ' explained JAXA Vice President Koichi Wakata. Moreover, it is exposed to radiation and temperature conditions that are much harsher than those on Earth, as well as an ultra-high vacuum environment.

In the future, Toyota and JAXA will conduct joint studies with the latter exercising the automaker's technology know-how to accelerate the development of a pressurized lunar rover.

The original manned moon rover was the Boeing LRV (Lunar Roving Vehicle), which was used during the Apollo space missions in the early 1970s.

Under the plan, the rover, deployed from the Gateway, will travel on the moon's surface close to the south pole for five explorations between 2029 and 2034.

JAXA will cooperate with Toyota on technologies to purify water and air in the vehicle. The automaker and Japanese space agency announced an agreement to study the possibility of collaborating on worldwide space exploration.


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