By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 29 January 2022 • 8:14
Toyota have announced that they will be heading to the moon with Japan’s space agency, who have ambitions to help people live on the lunar surface by 2040 and ultimately Mars.
The world’s bestselling car company has developed a vehicle with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is called Lunar Cruiser, whose name pays homage to the robust Toyota Land Cruiser sport utility vehicle. Its launch is set for the late 2020’s.
Takao Sato, Head of the Lunar Cruiser project at Toyota Motor Corp, said the vehicle is based on the idea that the vehicle will be home for those who live there. Basically they will work, eat, sleep and communicate with others safely in their mobile homes.
He told Associated Press: “We see space as an area for our once-in-a-century transformation. By going to space, we may be able to develop telecommunications and other technology that will prove valuable to human life.”
A robotic arm has also been developed for the Lunar Cruiser by Gitai Japan Incorporated that is designed to perform tasks such as inspection and maintenance. Its “grapple fixture” allows the arm’s end to be changed so it can work like different tools, scooping, lifting and sweeping.
Gitai Chief Executive Sho Nakanose said he felt the challenge of blasting off into space has basically been met but working in space entails big costs and hazards for astronauts. That’s where robots would come in handy.
Japan’s fascination with the moon has been growing and is as a result providing an outlet for companies like Toyota who have since their founding been concerned about the future of their business as times and needs change. That has resulted in it moving into many other areas of business including housing, boats, jets and robots. Its net-connected sustainable living quarters near Mount Fuji, called Woven City, where construction is starting this year.
Another private Japanese venture called ispace Incorporated. is also working on lunar rovers, landing and orbiting, and is scheduled for a moon landing later this year. Businessman Yusaku Maezawa, who recently took videos of himself floating around in the International Space Station, has booked an orbit around the moon aboard Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Starship.
Toyota engineer Shinichiro Noda told reporters that he is excited about the lunar project, an extension of the automaker’s long-time mission to serve customers and the moon may provide valuable resources for life on Earth.
“Sending our cars to the moon is our mission,” he said. Toyota has vehicles almost everywhere. “But this is about taking our cruiser to somewhere we have never been.”
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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