Australia has become the newest member in NASA’s quest to the Moon, on October 12, as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced to send a rover as part of the Artemis missions. A report by ABC News revealed that Morrison’s government has signed a deal with US space agency NASA to send an Australian-made semi-autonomous rover to the Moon by 2026. Besides, the government is also likely to invest $50 million in the development of the rover.
What will the Australian rover do?
Citing the official statement by the Australian government, ABC News reported that the space agencies will develop a “foundation services rover” under the “trailblazer programme” that will collect lunar soil samples containing oxygen atoms. Weighing no more than 20 kilograms, the rover will then provide the samples to NASA to extract oxygen from the soil.
Talking about the deal, Morrison said that it will bring humanity one step closer to making settlements in places other than Earth. He further added that Australia has invested $700 million in the civil space sector in the last three years, which would yield results in the form of a higher number of jobs in the future. Further weighing in on employment, Morrison stated that Australia is eyeing to triple the size of its space sector by 2030, a move that will add $12 billion to its economy. Besides, the space sector will also flourish by creating up to 20,000 new, high-skilled jobs that will provide ample opportunities for Australians and the industries.READ | NASA will not rename James Webb Telescope despite petitions
The Australian Space Agency will start accepting applications from Australia’s Indigenous industries to develop the rover later this year. Australian Space Agency's head Enrico Palermo was reported saying that they will exploit the expertise in the resources and mining sector. He further added that Australia would play a crucial role in exploring the Moon and Mars as it has seen significant development in robotics technology and systems for remote operations.READ | NASA schedules launch of DART spacecraft for Nov. 23; Here's how to watch it
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson also reflected on the deal, saying that Australia's inclusion in the lunar expedition will strengthen its ties with the US that they have maintained since the Apollo programme.
Source : https://www.republicworld.com/technology-news/science/australian-government-inks-deal-with-nasa-to-send-its-rover-to-moon-in-2026.html420