Australia has struck a deal with NASA to develop a small rover that has the ability to pick up moon rock and dust and return it to a lunar lander operated by NASA.
The agreement, which includes an Australian dollar 50 million contribution ($37 million), is part of Australia’s Moon to Mars initiative.
“This is lunar history for Australia. We are going to see Australian companies, researchers, design and build a rover that will go to the moon and do interesting science,” Enrico Palermo, head of the Australian Space Agency, told the Australian breakfast show “Today.”
NASA administrator Bill Nelson said the deal with Australia broadens the coalition of countries supporting humanity’s return to the moon under the Artemis program.
Artemis relies on partnerships, both international and commercial, to create a sustainable and lasting presence of humans on and around the moon, with the goal of ultimately using the lessons learned from Artemis to land the first humans on Mars.