26 September 2023

Australian rover to reach for the Moon

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The Australian Space Agency (ASA) has reached an agreement with the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which will result in an Australian-made rover being included in a future Moon mission.

The ASA is to bring Australian businesses and researchers together to develop the rover, backed by $50 million in funding from the Trailblazer program in the Australian Moon to Mars initiative.

In a statement, the ASA said the semi-autonomous rover would collect Lunar soil that contained oxides and, using separate equipment, NASA would aim to extract oxygen from the soil.

“This is a key step towards establishing a sustainable human presence on the Moon and supporting future missions to Mars,” it said.

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison said taking part in a mission to the Moon was an incredible opportunity for Australia to succeed in the global space sector.

“It is central to our Government’s vision to secure more jobs and a larger share of the growing space economy,” Mr Morrison said.

“By 2030, we want to triple the size of our space sector — adding $12 billion to our economy and creating up to 20,000 new, high-skilled jobs — providing more opportunities for people and industries,” he said.

Mr Morrison said the Moon mission was just one exciting way to create opportunity and jobs for the future “and our Government will ensure Australians reap the benefits”.

Minister for Science and Technology, Melissa Price said NASA wanted to partner with Australia “because of our expertise in robotics technology”.

“As well as putting Australia front and centre for scientific discoveries, our $50 million in support gives Australian businesses and researchers the opportunity to contribute to NASA’s mission to the Moon and beyond,” Ms Price said.

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