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Toyota to build moon rover

12/03/2019
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Toyota is set to build a vehicle unlike any it’s ever built before, thanks to its partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which is currently making plans to reach and explore the moon.
Toyota is collaborating with Japan's space agency on a mission to the moon
The mission, which has been tentatively titled LUNAR-A, will be an unmanned mission intended to ‘directly investigate the interior of the Moon, which could provide a lot of data on the Moon’s origin and evolution’.

Details of Toyota’s contribution to the moon mission are scant at present, however we do know that a key element of JAXA’s mission will involve the use of a craft/vehicle to monitor ‘moonquakes’ via the use of seismometers. The craft will also measure the Moon’s heat flux with the use of heat-flow probes. It is hoped that the measurements will help scientists data gather data about the abundance of heat-generating radioactive elements in the lunar interior.

Toyota has said little about the project to date. A spokesperson stated that Toyota is working on a joint project with JAXA “on mobility and a space probe” but declined to comment further. Full details about the collaboration are expected to be announced by JAXA and Toyota at a forthcoming symposium.

The project will mark Toyota’s first complete contribution to space exploration technology. Toyota had previously co-developed Kirobo, a small robot astronaut sent to the astronaut sent to the International Space Station in 2013. (The robot was later repurposed as a companion for lonely people).
Kirobo, a small robot astronaut was Toyota's first foray into space exploration.
(Kirobo, a small robot astronaut was Toyota’s first foray into space exploration. Image via Toyota).

So far only Russia, the United States and China have the 384,000-kilometre (239,000-mile) journey and landed spacecraft on the Moon. Israel is set to become the fourth nation to successfully land on the moon following a SpaceX rocket launch in February. Its robotic lander, Beresheet, is undergoing a two-month journey covering approximately four million miles (6.5 million km) as it orbits the Earth at a steadily increasing distance until it falls to the gravitational pull of the Moon.

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Tags: Engineering
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