The Edition

Latest

Moon shot: Toyota, Japan space agency plan lunar mission

06 March 2019, MVT 12:22
This handout photograph received from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft and made available by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on March 6, 2019 shows stone and sand after bullets were fired into the surface to collect data by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft after landing on the asteroid Ryugu. - Hayabusa2, the Japanese probe sent to examine an asteroid 300 million kilometres from the Earth for clues about the origin of life and the solar system, landed successfully on February 22, scientists said. (Photo by JAXA / JAXA / AFP) / --- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / JAXA" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ---
06 March 2019, MVT 12:22

Toyota is teaming up with Japan's space agency on a planned mission to the Moon, with the Japanese auto giant expected to develop a lunar rover, officials and local media said Wednesday.

It will be the car manufacturer's first full-fledged entry into space exploration, after the company jointly developed a small robot sent to the International Space Station.

"We are planning to cooperate with Toyota in an exploration mission to the Moon," said a spokesman with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Details will be announced by JAXA and Toyota Tuesday next week when the space agency hosts a symposium in Tokyo, the spokesman told AFP.

Toyota also confirmed plans to announce a joint project with JAXA "on mobility and a space probe" but declined to comment further.

Jiji Press news agency said the car giant is expected to jointly develop a "mobility method" to be used on the lunar surface for the mission.

The mission is part of renewed global interest in the Moon, sometimes called the "eighth continent" of the Earth, and comes 50 years after American astronauts first walked on the lunar surface.

Before humans set foot on the lunar surface again, NASA aims to land an unmanned vehicle on the Moon by 2024.

So far, only Russia, the United States and China have made the 384,000-kilometre (239,000-mile) journey and landed spacecraft on the Moon.

Last month, Israel launched a spacecraft that aims to join them.

In 2017, Japan revealed plans to put an astronaut on the Moon around 2030.

Tokyo, Japan | AFP

MORE ON WORLD