Japan to build NASA a pressurized Moon campervan for 30-day trips

Japan to build NASA a pressurized Moon campervan for 30-day trips
Artist's concept of the Moon camper van
Artist's concept of the Moon camper van
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Artist's concept of the Moon camper van
Artist's concept of the Moon camper van
The vehicle will use solar panels to replenish its fuel cells
The vehicle will use solar panels to replenish its fuel cells

When NASA returns to the Moon, its astronauts will enjoy tooling around in a pressurized camper van courtesy of JAXA and Toyota. The two-person vehicle is part of a US/Japan agreement that includes putting the first Japanese astronauts on the Moon.

It's beginning to look like NASA's program to establish a permanent human presence on the Moon will resemble a car show as much as it does a scientific expedition. The space agency recently awarded contracts to develop an open off road vehicle to carry astronauts around on the Moon, though these are small and the driver and passengers have to wear spacesuits. Meanwhile, the Japanese vehicle being developed by JAXA and Toyota is a mobile outpost where the crew can live and work for up to 30 days in a shirt sleeve environment.

No doubt while wearing loud Hawaiian shirts.

The vehicle will use solar panels to replenish its fuel cells
The vehicle will use solar panels to replenish its fuel cells

The new camper van, for want of a better term, measures 6.0 x 5.2 x 3.8 m (19.7 x 17.1 x 12.5 ft) and will be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, supplemented by solar panels that may recycle waste water by converting it back into hydrogen and oxygen for power. It's estimated to have a range of 10,000 km (6,200 miles) and will be used to explore the south polar region.

Under the new agreement signed by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Japan’s Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Masahito Moriyama at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC on April 9, 2024, JAXA will provide the vehicle while NASA will transport it to the Moon as part of the Artemis VII mission in 2031. Once on site, this pressurized 'home-a-long-way-away-from-home' is expected to operate for 10 years.

In addition to this, the new agreement will see the first Japanese astronaut travel to the Gateway cislunar outpost – and two more will be the first non-American astronauts to set foot on the Moon on a NASA mission.

"The pressurized rover will be a powerful contribution to the overall Artemis architecture as Japan and the U.S. go hand in hand with international and industry partners to the lunar surface and beyond," said Yamakawa. "JAXA is ready to assist MEXT and push this forward with our science and technological expertise to establish sustainable human presence on the Moon."

Source: NASA

I can dig it.
I reckon it is going to need more headlights and maybe roof mounted spot lights. It can get pretty dark during the lunar night and you need to see where you are driving.
Also I hope they plan to include a powerful dust extraction and cleaning system. All of the previous moon missions commented about the constant problems with lunar dust clinging to shoes and spacesuits and equipment. If they plan to explore on foot they'll want a method of getting rid of it when they come back inside. Especially if they are planning to be stuck on this vehicle for several weeks.
Hopefully it's designed as a modular moon vehicle. The electric motors, transmission, electronics, batteries are built into the drive base. The upper sections are modular add-ons, that can be configured as needed. So you can configure it as a carryall for cargo to a fully enclosed rover.
@UncleToad - there have been designs where the back of the space suit docks with the rover. Then the astronaut opens the rear hatch of their suit and climbs out. That way the dust and contaminates all stay outside in hard vacuum instead of the larger, more cumbersome air lock design to accommodate a full space suit maneuverability. Well, except the back hatch of the suit. I'm sure that they could design the back hatch with smooth outer shell and a decon/cleaning system to mitigate the dust issue.

I will say if static and ionization of the dust is an issue, can a simple "ground the charge" render the dust easier to clean? Equal out the charge to eliminate the attraction, then "dust it off"? Alternatively what about a super thin "tear off" layer like moto cross riders use on their googles? I hate waste but how much energy do astronauts waste just in trying to clean the regolith dust off?

So for example: astronaut approaches vehicle, performs a charge equalization to reduce/eliminate the static charge holding the dust o to their suit, then pull a tear off the back hatch of the suit, then dock with vehicle. I would assume there would be an automated system, maybe part of the docking procedure.

That said what about mitigation such as creating smoothed, packed path ways around common areas? Possibly even "paved". I wonder how the dust reacts in humid environment? I know water is at premium but I wonder if exposed to humid air will loosen the static component?
Sounded plausible right up to the word "Hydrogen" - then complete nonsense. I wonder if the PR departments who stick the word "hydrogen" in things have any clue how stupid it makes them look to scientists and engineers?
Presumably someone at NASA, JAXA or Toyota was a HUGE fan of "The Ark II" in the 70's.