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Toyota shoots for the moon with lunar rover plans

Automaker's move a sign of private sector's growing appetite for space business

Toyota's lunar rover will be able to carry two astronauts for extended missions, as well as drive autonomously over thousands of kilometers of hostile terrain. (Courtesy of Toyota)

TOKYO -- Toyota Motor is taking its automotive know-how to the moon. Japan's No. 1 automaker announced on Tuesday that it will jointly develop a fuel cell-powered lunar rover with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), to be used on manned missions as early as 2029.

The planned rover, which was unveiled at an event in Toyko, will be about the size of a microbus, making it large enough to house two astronauts for several weeks at a time. 

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