Toyota has revealed a lunar rover concept it is developing for the Japanese space agency to send astronauts to the moon.

The car maker and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are working together to land an astronaut on the moon by 2030.

Toyota’s concept marks an enormous upgrade on previous so-called moon buggies.

It will be 6m (19ft) long, 5.2m (17ft) wide, and 3.8m (12ft) tall, with 13 square metres of living space – about the size of two small vans.

That is enough room for two people, or four in an emergency.

It would be pressurised – meaning that the astronauts would not necessarily need helmets, and has a cruising range of more than 10,000km (6,213 miles).

Manned rovers with pressurised cabins are an element that will play an important role in fully fledged exploration and use of the lunar surface, said JAXA president Hiroshi Yamakawa.

Only Russia, the US, and China have landed spacecraft on the moon – although other states have crashed spacecraft there – and only America has landed a human.

Of the 24 astronauts who completed missions in the Apollo programme, only 12 walked on its surface and six drove lunar rovers.

Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, said: The automotive industry has long done business with concepts of ‘hometown’ and ‘home country’ largely in mind.

However, from now on, in responding to such matters as environmental issues of global scale, the concept of ‘home planet’ from which all of us come will become a very important concept.

The unveiling of the rover concept comes as President Trump pushes NASA towards landing more astronauts on the moon by 2028.
(c) Sky News 2019: Toyota reveals lunar rover for Japanese moon mission