According to Sky News, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has confirmed they are working with Toyota to develop a lunar rover for their manned mission to the moon which is slated for 2030.
Little is known about the vehicle, but a spokesperson for the space agency reportedly said “We are planning to cooperate with Toyota in an exploration mission to the moon.” The automaker is also said to be involved in other space projects including a probe and a “mobility method.”
Additional information is expected to be announced next week, but Toyota could become the second automaker to put a vehicle on the moon. The first Lunar Roving Vehicle was created with the assistance of General Motors and it landed on the moon in 1971.
According to NASA, each lunar rover had an aluminum frame and four electric motors that each produced 0.25 hp (.19 kW / .25 PS). They were powered by two 36 volt silver-zinc potassium hydroxide batteries. While that doesn’t sound very impressive by today’s standards, the crew of Apollo 17 drove their rover a total of 22.3 miles (35.9 km) over the course of 4 hours and 26 minutes.
Four lunar rovers were built, excluding prototypes, for $38 (£29 / €34) million – which, adjusted for inflation, is equivalent to $236 (£180 / €211) million in today’s money. If that figure is correct, each lunar rover is worth approximately five times more than the Bugatti La Voiture Noire.
H/T to The Detroit Bureau