Toyota Hydrogen Lunar Vehicle Can Use Ice as Fuel or Solve Range Anxiety by Using Local Resources

Toyota's Hydrogen Lunar Vehicle can utilize ice as fuel, addressing range anxiety with the use of local resources

【Phoneauto News】Recently, Toyota held a press conference to announce the development progress of its lunar rover. Toyota stated that the hydrogen-powered lunar rover, jointly developed with Mitsubishi, may one day use lunar ice as fuel to extend its missions.

Toyota Lunar Rover

Toyota’s expertise in hydrogen fuel cell technology may give it an advantage in space exploration. By using water as a source of hydrogen, the lunar rover can utilize existing resources on the moon to carry out longer missions. As part of Japan’s ambition to strengthen its presence in space, it is participating in NASA’s Artemis program. As part of this ambition, Toyota has been collaborating with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to develop the lunar rover since 2019. It will use hydrogen technology to enable it to drive more freely on the moon, potentially even indefinitely.

Toyota Lunar Rover

The lunar rover uses a new type of regenerative hydrogen fuel cell (RFC), which combines high-pressure hydrogen storage tanks and oxygen cylinders with the lunar rover during launch to generate hydrogen power on the moon and drive the vehicle. The lunar rover itself carries electrolysis water technology and equipment. Based on current exploration, there may be water in the lunar subsurface. Once this discovery is confirmed, it will be able to generate electricity using efficient solar panels and directly produce hydrogen on the moon.

Toyota Lunar Rover

This technology not only helps the vehicle work longer shifts, but also helps it have a longer lifespan. Toyota currently does not know how to convert the ice on the moon into hydrogen to power the lunar cruiser, but believes that this technology will one day be developed with the help of other companies.

According to the plan, the cruising distance of this lunar rover using the existing hydrogen storage tank is 1,000 kilometers. Even if water sources cannot be found on the moon, hydrogen and oxygen storage devices can be transported to the moon through spacecraft delivery for hydrogenation. The plan is to travel a distance of 10,000 kilometers on the moon, with the goal of exploring the entire moon.

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NASA expects the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to provide its own lunar rover by 2029 as part of its contribution to the Artemis program. Toyota expects to receive a confirmed order for the lunar cruiser before next autumn, and once it is put into use, it will be able to carry two astronauts for 42 days each year and will be used for at least 10 years.

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