Today, a lunar rover that uses platinum-based fuel cell electric vehicle technologies is being developed in a collaboration between the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and Toyota Motor Corporation.
Platinum catalysts have further hydrogen-related applications which could benefit the Artemis programme, especially given the recent focus on the sustainability of human missions to the moon and, in due course, Mars. If ways of using resources that already exist on the moon can be found, this will decrease the cost and complexity of remote missions by reducing the need for supplies delivered from Earth.
For example, it is hoped that hydrogen – a vital fuel source for the space programme – can be derived from lunar water sources, through electrolysis. Platinum is used as a catalyst in Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolysers that use polymer electrolyte, one of the two leading electrolysis technologies currently available.