26 September 2023

Australian Space Agency aims at the moon

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The Australian Space Agency has launched a competition to name Australia’s first lunar rover planned to take off to the moon in 2026.

According to the Agency, everyone in Australia has the chance to make history as part of Australia’s boldest adventure ever.

“The Australian Space Agency, in partnership with NASA, is working with Australia’s space industry to design and build an Australian-made rover,” the Agency said.

“It’s part of the Trailblazer program under the Moon to Mars initiative,” it said.

It said drawing on Australia’s world-leading remote operations expertise, the rover is to collect lunar soil, known as regolith, and NASA will attempt to extract oxygen from the sample.

“This is a key step towards a sustainable human presence on the Moon,” the Australian Space Agency said.

It said the rover is to go to the moon as part of a future Artemis mission.

In the competition, Australians are invited to enter a name to be in the running to be selected for the rover.

“Individuals and schools across Australia can enter a rover name, along with a brief explanation for choosing it,” the Agency said.

The competition is now open.

“We will select a shortlist of four names from your entries and put them to a public vote,” the Agency said.

“We’ll announce the winner in December”.

It said the competition would be open until 20 October; shortlisting would proceed until 17 November; public voting would be run until 1 December; and the announcement of the name revealed at the 16th Australian Space Forum in Sydney on 6 December.

To enter the competition a person need only to provide their details, rover name and brief explanation via the Agency’s website.

The website can accessed at this PS News link until 11:59pm (ADST), Friday 20 October.

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