Australia will build an astromobile for a NASA mission to the moon scheduled for 2026. This was announced by the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, underlining that it is the first time that the oceanic country collaborates in such a project.
The semi.autonomous spacecraft will collect lunar soil samples containing oxides, while NASA will try, with a separate team, to extract oxygen from the surface of the Earth’s satellite.
This work is part of a NASA aerospace project that aims to establish human colonies on the moon in the future to support upcoming missions to Mars.
“This is an incredible opportunity for Australia to be successful in the global space sector,” Morrison said, adding that his government aims to triple the space sector by 2030 to inject more than $ 8.8 billion (7.626 billions of euros) in the country’s economy.
The future rover will be developed by Australian companies and researchers and will receive approximately $ 37 million (€ 32 million) in government funding, according to a statement from the Australian Prime Minister’s office.
The astromobile is built under a recently signed agreement between Australia and NASA as part of the US space agency’s Artemis program.
The deal to build the device is backed by the Australian government’s Moon to Mars initiative, which was announced in 2019 at NASA headquarters and is funded for $ 110 million (€ 95 million).