Toyota Will Develop A Manned Fuel-cell Lunar Rover

Toyota will develop a manned fuel-cell lunar rover

TOKYO — Toyota and Japan's space agency said on Tuesday they had agreed to cooperate in developing a manned lunar rover that runs on fuel cell technologies. Although Japan has no plan currently to make a manned rocket that could send people into space, the rover could be a major contribution to an international space program in the future, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said. The rover "will be an important element supporting human lunar exploration, which we envision will take place in the 2030s," JAXA Vice President Koichi Wakata told a symposium in Tokyo. "We aim to launch such a rover into space in 2029." The rover is still in the conceptual stage, but an illustration in the news release showed a six-wheel vehicle that somewhat resembled an armored personnel carrier. A spokesman for Toyota, which plans to ramp up fuel-cell cars as a zero-emission alternative to gasoline vehicles, said the project would give the company a chance to test its technologies in the moon's harsh environment and improve them. Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi stressed the excitement that comes with taking part in a space project. "As an engineer, there is no greater joy than being able to participate in a lunar project by way of Toyota's car-making," Terashi told the symposium. "Being allowed to be a member of 'Team Japan,' we would like to take up the challenge of space."

Kansai Airport Busy With Lunar New Year Tourists

Kansai Airport busy with Lunar New Year tourists

Large crowds of tourists from mainland China and Taiwan have arrived at Kansai Airport in Osaka, western Japan, for the weeklong Lunar New Year holidays that began on Monday.

One of the visitors said she arrived from Shanghai with two family members and wants to enjoy skiing in Fukui Prefecture and sightseeing in Osaka and Kobe.

Tokyo Tower Lighted Red For Lunar New Year

Tokyo Tower lighted red for Lunar New Year

Tokyo Tower, an iconic landmark in the capital, has been illuminated in red as part of the efforts to welcome Chinese visitors to Japan during the Lunar New Year holiday.

An event to light up Tokyo Tower on the Lunar New Year's eve on Monday was organized by groups of Chinese residents and others in Japan. The red color is considered auspicious in China.

Jaxa Lunar Orbiter Confirms Earth’s Oxygen Lands On Moon

JAXA lunar orbiter confirms Earth’s oxygen lands on moonLong a mystery of lunar science, the presence of oxygen on the surface of the moon has been known to scientists but not its origin.
Now, a team of Japanese researchers has confirmed that oxygen carried from Earth by the "Earth wind," a wind of magnetospheric ions, travels 380,000 kilometers through space to reach the moon's surface.

Lunar New Year Brings Hordes Of Chinese Tourists To Tokyo

Lunar New Year brings hordes of Chinese tourists to TokyoCrowds of Chinese tourists have chosen to spend their Lunar New Year--and their money--in Tokyo.
On Jan. 31, the Chinese New Year’s Day, visitors on group tours were shopping for luxury watches at Laox Ginza, a large duty-free store. Laox Co., a major Tokyo-based retailer of home electric appliances, opened its main store in Tokyo’s posh Ginza district last November.

Yokohama Chinatown Celebrates Lunar New Year

Yokohama Chinatown celebrates Lunar New YearPerformers dressed as lions danced on the streets of Chinatown in Yokohama on Sunday to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

At 4 PM, 4 performers started dancing on the street against a background of drums and firecrackers. Lions are believed to attract good luck in China.

Robots Get Test Run In Preparing For 2025 Lunar Mission

Robots get test run in preparing for 2025 lunar missionRobots took small steps along a sand dune in Shizuoka Prefecture in the hopes of making a giant leap for the technology that will be vital to a lunar exploration mission around the year 2025.

Researchers from Tohoku University and other institutions put eight robotic rovers to the test in lunar-like conditions in the Nakatajima Sand Dunes in Hamamatsu on March 13.