Toyota to build lunar rover as Japan tries to land astronaut on moon

Toyota and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are collaborating on a new moon mission which will see the carmaker develop a lunar rover.

The project will mark the manufacturer’s first complete contribution to space exploration technology, according to officials and local media reports.

Toyota had previously co-developed Kirobo, a small robot astronaut sent to the International Space Station in 2013.

However, the robot was later repurposed as a potential companion for lonely people.

Toyota’s Kirobo mini isn’t much of an astronaut

A JAXA spokesperson said: “We are planning to cooperate with Toyota in an exploration mission to the moon.”

Toyota is also set to announce a joint project “on mobility and a space probe”, although it declined to comment further.

According to the Jiji Press news agency, the “mobility method” which Toyota is working on could be used on the lunar surface, where JAXA aims to land an astronaut by 2030.

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WIESBADEN, HESSEN - DECEMBER 22: Toyota cars are offered for sale at a car dealership on December 22, 2008 in Wiesbaden, Germany. Today Japanese carmaker Toyota Motor Corp., the world's second largest car manufacturer announed a 91 percent lowered net income forecast. (Photo by Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)
Image: The project will be Toyota’s first space exploration move

To date, only Russia, the US, and China have successfully landed spacecraft on the moon – although other states have crashed spacecraft there.

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 roughly 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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