March 12, 2019 (JST)
Tokyo, Japan, March 12, 2019-The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
(JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) agreed today to study
the possibility of collaborating on international space exploration.
As a first step, JAXA and Toyota agreed to further cooperate on and
accelerate their ongoing joint study of a manned, pressurized rover
that employs fuel cell vehicle technologies.
Such a form of mobility is deemed necessary for human exploration
activities on the lunar surface.
Even with the limited amount of energy that can be transported to
the moon, the pressurized rover would have a total lunar-surface
cruising range of more than 10,000 km.
International space exploration, aiming to achieve sustainable
prosperity for all of humankind by expanding the domain of human
activity and giving rise to intellectual properties, has its sights
set on the moon and Mars.
To achieve the goals of such exploration, coordination between
unmanned missions, such as the recent successful touchdown by the
asteroid probe Hayabusa2 on the asteroid Ryugu, and manned missions,
such as those involving humans using pressurized rovers to conduct
activities on the moon, is essential.
When it comes to challenging missions such as lunar or Martian
exploration, while various countries are competing in advancing
their technologies, they are also advancing their cooperative efforts.
JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa had this to say today about the
agreement between JAXA and Toyota:
“At JAXA, we are pursuing international coordination and
technological studies toward Japan’s participation in international
We aim to contribute through leading Japanese technologies that can
potentially generate spin-off benefits.
Having Toyota join us in the challenge of international space
exploration greatly strengthens our confidence.
Manned rovers with pressurized cabins are an element that will play
an important role in full-fledged exploration and use of the lunar
For this, we would like to concentrate our country’s technological
abilities and conduct technological studies.
Through our joint studies going forward, we would like to put to
use Toyota’s excellent technological abilities related to mobility,
and we look forward to the acceleration of our technological studies
for the realization of a manned, pressurized rover.”
Toyota President Akio Toyoda said this:
“The automotive industry has long done business with the concepts
of ‘hometown’ and ‘home country’ largely in mind.
However, from now on, in responding to such matters as environmental
issues of global scale, the concept of ‘home planet’, from which all
of us come, will become a very important concept.
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 international space
Furthermore, cars are used in all of Earth’s regions, and, in some
regions, cars play active roles as partners for making sure that
people come back alive.
And I think that coming back alive is exactly what is needed in
I am extremely happy that, for this project, expectations have
been placed on the thus-far developed durability and driving
performance of Toyota vehicles and on our fuel cell environmental
National Research and Development Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Toyota Motor Corporation