International and commercial partnerships are a critical component of NASA’s long-term plans on and around the Moon under the Artemis program.
The agency recently signed a new agreement with the Australian Space Agency that will further support human and robotic lunar operations for both countries.
As part of the agreement, a consortium of Australian businesses and research organizations will develop a small rover that can operate on the lunar surface. The rover would have the ability to pick up and transfer lunar regolith (broken rock and dust) to a NASA-operated in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) system on a commercial lunar lander. Such a rover could fly to the Moon as early as 2026.
“This agreement will serve to strengthen the longtime relationship between the United States and Australia in areas related to space exploration – a relationship that goes back more than half a century to the days of the Apollo program,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “By working together with the Australian Space Agency and our partners around the world, NASA will uncover more discoveries and accomplish more research through the Artemis program.”