The Australian-made rover will jointly carry out a lunar landing mission with NASA in 2026

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Australia has signed an agreement with NASA to develop a small rover that will be able to pick up lunar rocks and dust and bring them back to the lunar lander operated by NASA.

The lunar soil or weathered layer is expected to contain oxygen in the form of oxides, and—using a separate device—NASA will work to extract oxygen from the sample. The Australian government said in a statement: “This is a critical step in establishing a sustainable human presence on the moon and supporting future missions to Mars.”

The agreement includes a capital contribution of 50 million Australian dollars (37 million U.S. dollars), is part of Australia’s Moon-to-Mars program.

“This is Australia’s lunar history. We will see Australian companies, Researchers, design and build a rover that will go to the moon and do some interesting science,” Australian Space Agency Director Enrico Palermo told Australia’s “Today” breakfast TV program.

Palermo said Australia is “at the forefront of remotely operated robotics technology and systems, which is essential to establish a sustainable presence on the moon and ultimately support human exploration of Mars.”

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that the agreement with Australia expands the alliance of nations that support the return of mankind to the moon.

NASA designs a new spacesuit for the next lunar mission in 2024
“By working with the Australian Space Agency and our partners around the world, NASA will discover more discoveries and complete more research through the Artemis program,” Nelson said in a statement.
A report from NASA’s regulators in August warned that Artemis’ goal is to get the first woman and the next man to land on the moon by 2024-although this deadline is due to spacesuit issues. May not be feasible.

Artemis relies on international and commercial partnerships to create a sustainable and lasting human presence on and around the moon, with the goal of ultimately using Artemis landed the first humans on Mars.

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