Get to Know Toyota’s Futuristic Moon Rover

Aug 27, 2019 | GOV, Japan, NEWS

Culture & Travel 

You’re not going to believe what’s coming in store this 2030. Toyota has teamed up with Japan’s space agency to make the biggest and most ambitious moon rover yet

Japan is no stranger to technological breakthroughs. Now, the country is leading the scene once more as it plans to perfect the best moon rover yet in just 10 years.

The country aims to send astronauts to the moon before China. This multi-manned mission is expected to happen in 2030. The proposal was submitted by Japan’s Space Agency JAXA to challenge China’s timeline which projected to do the same thing in 2036.

The Futuristic Ride

Of course, astronauts need a fantastic vehicle to match the country’s effort, and that will come to life with the help of Toyota. The company plans to build a six-wheeled vehicle big enough to fit 2 people in its 140 square feet of habitable space. However, this could carry as much as 4 people should there be emergencies.

It is set to be powered by solar and fuel cell technology and will take the astronauts on a 621-mile journey. The solar panels are deployable to make charging easier. It will also be equipped with communication equipment and a front winch to get itself out of issues such as jams.

The said ride is expected to be 12 feet tall, 17 feet wide, and 20 feet long, similar to the size of two microbuses. The best part is, astronauts, don’t even need to wear a spacesuit while inside the vehicle thanks to pressurization.

“The rover will be used for missions to explore the moon’s polar regions, with the aim both of investigating the possibility of using the moon’s resources ― such as frozen water ― and of acquiring technologies that enable exploration of the surfaces of massive heavenly bodies,” according to Toyota’s statement.

While the project may be ambitious, Japan has high hopes to make it. Should it be successful, it would change the “magnificent desolation” perspective of the moon.

Timeline

Developing a vehicle designed for moon exploration isn’t exactly easy. Toyota and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency or JAXA signed a three-year joint research agreement from 2019 to 2021.

To meet their deadlines, Toyota and JAXA plans to complete different phases of the vehicle’s development. This year, they will focus on identifying the elements that they need to drive on the moon’s surface. The prototype will also be drawn up.

Next year, the companies will start manufacturing important test parts to meet the technological elements for the prototype rover which will be tested and evaluated in 2021. By 2027, the companies are expected to finish manufacturing and testing the quality and performance of the flight model just in time for its launch in 2030.

The vehicle is set to arrive on the moon earlier than the astronauts and will drive autonomously to welcome them.

Quest to the Moon

Japan is not the only country that aims to explore the moon. India initially wanted a piece of the cake but was forced to postpone its plan due to a technical snag. The launch of the probe named Chandrayaan 2 was canceled less than an hour before the blast. This mishap greatly affected the country’s aim to be the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the lunar surface.

“A technical snag was observed in launch vehicle system at 1 hour before the launch. As a measure of abundant precaution, #Chandrayaan2 launch has been called off for today. Revised launch date will be announced later,” said the Indian Space Research Organization in a tweet.

Currently, only the United States, China, and Russia have successfully landed space crafts on the moon.

Now, it seems that another race is beginning. Aside from Japan, China, and India, Donald Trump, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk have also announced their goal to get people back to the moon.

Stop Making Sense: The Strange Auteurism of Stephen Chow

Auteur theory is a complicated subject to broach, seeing that the debate to place a definition on the term “auteur” has been ongoing since the 1940s. Everyone has their own variation and take on the term that gets assigned to monolithic and specific directors.

Cathy Freeman’s Olympic Victory Etched into Australia’s DNA 20 Years On

Cathy Freeman’s triumphant Olympic moment two decades ago officially became part of Australia’s genome Friday, with the nation’s archivists using synthetic DNA data storage to preserve the footage.

Down the Rabbit Hole: Gwen Wong Wayne Looks Back on Her Playboy Odyssey

Only a few jobs in the world can rival the whispers Playboy Bunnies get, both controversial and not. The second Asian American Playmate, Gwen Wong Wayne, recounts her incredible experiences working as a Bunny in the 60s and 70s, and shares her life today.

Documentary Film on Wuhan’s Outbreak Captured Harrowing Footage of Ground Zero

Back in February, when few Americans were aware of a distant and oddly named phenomenon called coronavirus, two Chinese filmmakers strapped on hazmat suits and embedded themselves in Wuhan’s overrun hospitals.

Why is China Buying up the World’s Donkeys?

China’s domestic donkey population has already halved in the last century, while the world’s total is facing extinction by the next decade. But what is the reason behind China’s strange appetite for the beloved beast-of-labor?

Netflix Adapts Famous Chinese Novel ‘Three Body Problem’ into a Series

Netflix has gotten the right to produce Liu Cixin’s popular science fiction work The Three Body Problem into a series. The project will involve bigtime names in the industry like Game of Thrones’ David Benioff and D.B. Weiss as executive producers, and director Rian Johnson from The Last Jedi.

BTS Releases Cold Brew Coffee for Every ARMY

Want to have your caffeine fix of the day? BTS has got you covered with their newly-released Cold Brew. BTS teamed up with a Barista Champ to create this classic wake-me-up drink that is perfect to enjoy at home or at work.

Is Indian Hip-Hop the Next Big Thing?

When it comes to music hits in Asia, many people from the west are only familiar with K-pop. However, there has been an emerging hip hop culture in India that is about to take the world by storm.

Death of Whistleblower Doctor Sparks Outrage in China

The death of a whistleblowing doctor whose early warnings about China’s new coronavirus outbreak were suppressed by the police has unleashed a wave of anger at the government’s handling of the crisis — and bold demands for more freedom.

Asian Transgender Models Transforming the Industry

Transgenders are finally moving onto the center stage in the modeling world after decades of rejection. Now that the industry is more open to beauty in all forms, these models can finally take over not just headlines, but also magazine covers.

Dreams of Chicken: Jollibee Set on Global Expansion

The Filipino fast food corporation has set its sights on the rest of the world, starting with the US and Canada.

Vietnam’s Startups: Second Largest in Southeast Asia

A tech-savvy population, a fast-growing economy, and the perks of being first in an emerging market — Vietnamese entrepreneur Le Thanh saw the potential in booming Ho Chi Minh City for his start-up transforming coffee grounds into masks.

‘Starving’ Bangladesh Garment Workers Protest for Pay During Lockdown

Thousands of garment workers who produce items for top Western fast fashion brands protested against unpaid wages in Bangladesh’s streets Monday, saying they were more afraid of starving than contracting coronavirus.

Sun Yang: Rise and Fall of a Controversial Champion

Sun Yang’s world and Olympic titles have long been overshadowed by controversy, and the Chinese swimmer’s career could now be over after he was banned for eight years on Friday for a second doping violation.

Japan University Awards First Ever ‘Ninja’ Studies Degree

Japan has produced its first ninja studies graduate after Genichi Mitsuhashi spent two years honing his martial arts skills and absorbing the finer traditions of the feudal martial arts agents.

Move Over Boba: There’s a New Tea in Town

In recent years, Asian Tea brands have turned drinking cold flavored teas into a culinary sport, boasting lines that go around the block and blowing up Instagram feed with crazy flavors. If you are still stuck on drinking Boba, we’ve got a treat for you.

Top South Korea Travel Must-Knows

Don’t travel to South Korea without reading these timeless tips.

Stranded by Virus Lockdown, India Migrant Workers Walk Home

With India locked down over the coronavirus and no way to earn money, Dilipji Thakor faces a grim choice: either walk home or die hungry.

Penguins Chill Out at Hong Kong Park While Care Takers Work Overtime

Save for an absence of gawping crowds, life for the penguins of Hong Kong’s Ocean Park has been much the same during the coronavirus pandemic — but their carers have worked long shifts to keep the monochrome troupe healthy.

Malaysia Suspected MH370 Downed in Murder-Suicide from the Beginning: Aussie Ex-PM

Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has claimed “very top” level Malaysian officials believed vanished Flight MH370 was deliberately downed by the captain in a mass murder-suicide.

The Ultimate Guide to Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands

The guide to one of Malaysia’s most beautiful destinations, Cameron Highlands

India vs. Pakistan Impending Nuclear Conflict: Ready To Put On That Hazmat Suit?

The growing tension between Asian neighbors India and Pakistan is now deemed to be one of the most dangerous crises to ever happen post-Cold War era.

Chinese COVID-19 Vaccine Starts Final Tests in Brazil

A Chinese-made vaccine against the new coronavirus entered the final stage of testing Tuesday in Brazil, where volunteers received the first doses of what officials hope will be a game-changer in the global pandemic.

Philippines Signs Law Condemning Sexism

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the anti-Bastos bill into law, which aims to punish acts of sexism such as catcalling

Family Drama ‘A Sun’ Wins Best Picture at Taiwan’s Oscars

Taiwanese family drama “A Sun” won top prizes at the Golden Horse film awards Saturday in a year marked by the conspicuous absence of talent from China amid plummeting ties between Taipei and Beijing.

Laos to Press Ahead with ‘Destructive’ New Dam on Mekong

Environmentalists have criticized Laos for pressing ahead with plans for another “destructive dam” on the Mekong River, a waterway already strangled by hydropower schemes.

Young Australian an Unlikely Target for China’s Fury

An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government.

The Debauchery of China’s Mass Surveillance System

China’s aggressive mass surveillance system just got an upgrade: it now spies on foreigners.

Crash Landing Will Make You Swoon, Laugh, and Cry in Between

Korean dramas’ explosive growth into the mainstream resulted in rapid production of new shows that are hard to differentiate from one to another, but every once in a while, one drama reigns supreme. Now, it’s Crash Landing on You, a K-drama centered on a rich South Korean tycoon who lands by accident on the wrong side of the country’s demilitarized zone. But how swoon-worthy is it? 

Interesting Korean Superstitions You Should Know

Although it’s a progressive country, Koreans still believe in superstitions. Take a look at some interesting ones.

China: A Failed Murder Attempt Outsourced Five Times

A string of hitmen who repeatedly subcontracted a murder to each other — then failed to go through with the job have been jailed in China.

Tiger, Pangolin Farming in Myanmar Risks ‘Boosting Demand’

Conservationists have warned a sudden change in Myanmar’s law allowing the commercial farming of tigers, pangolins and other endangered species risks further fuelling demand in China for rare wildlife products.

Medical Marijuana To Be Made Available in Thailand

Thailand is making headway in making medical marijuana available to all patients nationwide.

Meicai: China’s Unicorn Farm-to-Table Startup

Meicai is a website-slash-phone application that allows users to get produce delivered from a farm straight to the comfort of their homes. It was established in 2014 by owner Liu Chuanjun.

Delhi’s Rebel Gym Goers Risk Virus to Pump Iron

While top gym chains in India are shuttered over the coronavirus pandemic, many workout dens are defying government orders of a lockdown by staying open for their muscle-bound customers.

South Korea in Hot Water Due to Its Peeping Tom Problem

South Korean establishments plagued by spy cameras

Miss Universe Queens from Asia

It is no secret that Asians are some of the biggest pageantry fans on the planet. Get to know the Asian queens that bagged the sought-after Miss Universe title.

Casetify’s UV Phone Sanitizer is a Must Have

Since the pandemic, phone sanitizers have been popping up left and right. But there’s a new kid on the block that’s about to make others pale in comparison: The Casetify UV Phone Sanitizer. Get to know more about the product below.

Tearful Jeremy Lin Seeks NBA Return after One Season in China

Jeremy Lin said Tuesday he is leaving the Beijing Ducks after one season in China and wants to return to the NBA, where he sparked the “Linsanity” craze of 2012.

Sake Makers Begun Producing Stronger Alcohol to Beat Sanitizer Shortage

Strong alcoholic drinks can be used “when absolutely necessary” instead of hand sanitiser in Japanese hospitals, authorities said, as supplies run dry as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Asia’s Alcatraz: An Unlikely Destination in Indonesia

Indonesia is a mecca for surfers and beach lovers, but this tropical paradise houses something dark and mysterious. Learn more about this execution island, Asia’s Alcatraz

Top Wineries to Visit on Your Next Trip to Asia

Considering the sun, terrain type, and climate in Asia, it’s a wonder why it’s not considered a must-visit for wine lovers. Simply let go of your favorite European or Napa Valley wines for the moment because Asia’s offers will blow your mind away.

China’s Sci-fi Quarantine Watch with Robots and Cameras

Robots delivering meals, ghostly figures in hazmat suits and cameras pointed at front doors: China’s methods to enforce coronavirus quarantines have looked like a sci-fi dystopia for legions of people.

Indonesia’s Indofood Eyes $3B Purchase of Noodle-Maker Pinehill

Indonesia’s Indofood CBP Sukses Makmur plans to buy instant noodle maker Pinehill for $3.0 billion as it eyes growth in Africa and the Middle East, according to a stock exchange filing.

Off the Air: Top Philippines Broadcaster Shuts Regional Stations

Anchor Dhobie de Guzman has been the face of a popular news show in the northern Philippines for more than a decade. Now the closure of his regional station — and dozens of others countrywide — has left him out of work.

Japanese Billionaire Seeks Girlfriend for Moon Voyage on SpaceX

A Japanese billionaire has launched an online wanted ad for a girlfriend who will fly around the Moon with him on a SpaceX rocket.

Hong Kong Activists Charged for Taking Part in Tiananmen Vigil

Twenty-five Hong Kong democracy activists were charged Thursday with taking part in a banned June candlelight vigil marking the anniversary of China’s 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

What is Chloroquine and Could it Cure the Coronavirus?

Could a pair of decades-old, relatively inexpensive drugs be the solution to the novel coronavirus pandemic?

Japanese Apartment-Style Hotel Mimaru Opens in Ginza

An apartment-style hotel recently opened its doors to the public in the Ginza area of Tokyo. The hotel boasts large rooms with modern Japanese design for families to enjoy. Know more about this unique hotel.

Yakuza: The Rise, Demise, and Evolution of Japan’s Notorious Gangsters

Considered as the most feared crime syndicates from Japan, a closer look at the yakuza – how they came to be and where are they now.

Badminton Star’s Offer for Coaching Sparks Frenzy on Twitter

It’s an irresistible prospect for budding badminton players — a chance to be coached by Japanese world number one Kento Momota, who has triggered thousands of responses by offering his services.

Michelle Obama, Julia Roberts Promote Education for Girls in Vietnam

Former US first lady Michelle Obama and Hollywood A-lister Julia Roberts toured a high school in rural Vietnam on Monday, urging a classroom of teenage girls to stay focused on their education to transform their lives.

The United States Bares Teeth to Chinese Territory

Tensions are high surrounding three nations with much to fight for in the South China Sea

First-Ever Online Paris Fashion Week Kicks Off Monday

The first-ever online Paris fashion week clicks off Monday with the world of glitzy runway shows thrown into an existential crisis by the coronavirus.

Taiwan Dubbed as Asia’s Most LGBTQ-Friendly Country

There is no country in Asia that shines brighter than Taiwan when it comes to inclusivity for the LBGTQ community. In this article, we enumerate what awaits people in this rainbow-colored destination.

Inspired by Greta Thundberg: China’s Teenage Climate Warrior Fights an Uphill Battle

While most of her peers are preparing for university or enjoying summer vacation, 17-year-old Howey Ou is braving intimidation and criticism in China to save the world from climate catastrophe.