Toyota has signed an agreement with the Japanese Exploration Agency (JAXA), which is considering putting another rover vehicle into space.

The two firms yesterday announced the agreement to continue co-operating on a fuel-cell powered space vehicle.

Because of the limited resources which can be transported to the moon, the vehicle will not run forever, although the pressurised rover would have a total range of more than 10,000km (6,214 miles).

The currently unnamed vehicle would have its sights set on the moon, although Mars is still an area of interest for space exploration.

Toyota 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.

“I am extremely happy that, for this project, expectations have been placed on the thus-far developed durability and driving performance of Toyota vehicles and on our fuel cell environmental technologies.”

It might seem an unusual move for a car manufacturer to venture into such a market, but with Toyota often being at the forefront of environmental technology, there is method behind the bold announcement.

The Japanese manufacturer is also one of the very few manufacturers with production-ready fuel cell models — such as the Mirai.

There is no word on the specs and size of the six-wheeled lunar vehicle, although JAXA has said it aims to launch such a rover into space in 2029.