Toyota is working on a moon buggy

Toyota Lunar Vehicle

Toyota Lunar Vehicle

"Having Toyota join us in the challenge of global space exploration greatly strengthens our confidence", Hiroshi Yamakawa, JAXA's president, said in the release.

Powering the Toyota Moon Rover concept will be "fuel cell electric vehicle technologies" similar to what the Japanese carmaker used in its current Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

Speaking about the Moon Rover, Toyota President Akio Toyoda said, "The automotive industry has long done business with the concepts of "hometown" and "home country" largely in mind".

Toyota unveiled the project with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to build a rover that can be powered by fuel cells and enable astronauts to live inside it for a certain period without wearing space suits, in what would be the first such development in the world.

Video of the Toyota rover. It will have 13 cubic meters of living space and can accommodate two to four people.

Toyota is to build a self-driving lunar rover that will enable astronauts to travel on the surface of the moon without space suits, as Japan raises the stakes amid renewed worldwide interest in lunar exploration.

The automaker realizes only a limited amount of energy can be stored and taken to a moon landing, yet the company claims the lunar rover can would be able to travel more than 6,200 miles on the moon with its power source.

Safety is a major concern for Toyota, so the automaker will pay careful attention to details to ensure any human astronaut returns safely from the lunar rover, to the vessel, and back to Earth.

The agreement is meant to promote Japanese technological knowhow.

The use of fuel cells allows the rover to travel over a great distance on the lunar surface as well as maintain mobility that's necessary in exploring the moon. For this, we would like to concentrate our country's technological abilities and conduct technological studies. And I think that coming back alive is exactly what is needed in this project.

'Thus far, our joint study, has examined a preliminary concept for a manned, pressurized rover system, and we have identified the technological issues that must be solved, ' Wakata said.