In an Australian-first, an agreement has been signed with NASA to send an Aussie-built rover to the Moon to examine resources that could support future life on the white rock.
The mission, supported under the Federal Government’s $150 million Moon to Mars initiative, is expected to launch as early as 2026.
ANU Astrophysicist Doctor Brad Tucker said it’s one giant leap for Australia.
“There’s only been four other countries who’ve built rovers for the moon – the US, Russia, China and India, so this is a pretty exclusive club to join.”
The small rover will be designed to pick up and transfer broken rock and dust on the lunar surface.
Dr. Tucker said it’ll examine oxygen levels, particularly in the soil.
“The whole goal here is to understand what quantities of material and resources are on the moon to support future humans there…
Australia has a great expertise and knowledge in being able to find these things in the soil, in the ground and in space.”
As part of the agreement, several businesses across the nation will work together to develop the rover.
Dr. Tucker has no doubt that Canberra will be involved.
“I imagine there’ll be people from the ANU and UNSW in Canberra involved in this project… That’s the cool thing to be able to say, ‘hey yeah there’ll be stuff that once was in Canberra and is now driving around on the moon.’”