Australia has signed a deal with NASA to develop a small rover that will have the ability to pick up lunar rock and dust and bring it back to a moon lander operated by NASA.
The agreement, which includes a contribution of 50 million Australian dollars ($37 million), is part of Australia’s Moon to Mars initiative.
“This is lunar history for Australia. We’re going to see Australian businesses, researchers, design and build a rover that’s going to go to the moon and do some interesting science,” Enrico Palermo, head of the Australian Space Agency, told Australia’s “Today” breakfast television show.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said the deal with Australia broadens the coalition of countries that is 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 eventually using lessons learned from Artemis to land the first people on Mars.