• 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.
  • 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.
  • Toyota also confirmed plans to announce a joint project with JAXA “on mobility and a space probe” but declined to comment further.
  • 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.
  • Israel launched a spacecraft that aims to join them.
  • In 2017, Japan revealed plans to put an astronaut on the Moon around 2030.