3 mins read 06 Apr 2022

Australian Space Agency announces new Lunar Mission campaign

The Australia Space Agency has announced a new campaign that aims to inspire the Australian public with a mission that will be sending a rover to the Moon in a campaign called “G’day Moon”. 

The Australian Space Agency, as part of the third tranche of the Moon to Mars Initiative, has just announced that Australia is going to the Moon in an upcoming mission that aims to inspire general audiences. The “G’day Moon” campaign will see Australia develop and build a Lunar rover for the nation’s first Moon mission.   

The mission was first announced on 31 October 2021, when the Australian Space Agency reached an agreement with NASA for an Australian-made, semi-autonomous rover to be part of a future mission to the Moon. 

The rover will draw on Australia’s mining and resources expertise, particularly the ability to develop and control remote mining operations like that in Western Australia. The rover will be designed as part of a collaborative mission with NASA, where the Australian-made rover will extract Lunar regolith (soil material on the surface of the Moon), and then a separate piece of NASA equipment will aim to extract oxygen from the regolith. The results of this mission could be key to establishing a human presence on the Moon and supporting future missions to Mars. 

To represent the G’day Moon Campaign, to symbolise the key role that Australia will play in the future Moon mission, and to connect everyday Australians to this bold venture, the Australian Space Agency has chosen the hero image of the campaign to be the footprint of a thong on the Moon’s surface. 

The hero image of the G’day Moon campaign: a thong-print on the Moon. Credit: The Australian Space Agency.

The G’day Moon campaign is part of the Trailblazer Program of the Moon to Mars Initiative. The Initiative will see a total investment of $150 million across Australian businesses and consists of three tranches. 

The Supply Chain Program offers grants and facilitation to support Australian projects and activities which will contribute to domestic and international supply chains of products and services. The program will be accepting applications until 1 May 2023.  

The Demonstrator Program was also launched in 2020, offering support to the Australian development and launch of space products and projects. Applications for this program are closed. 

The third tranche and the flagship of the Moon to Mars Initiative is the Trailblazer Program, which includes the G’day Moon campaign. The aims of the Trailblazer Program include building international relationships, the demonstration of Australian capabilities in the space sector, and stimulating the growth of the space sector. The initial planning and consultation for the Trailblazer Program commenced early last year.

As part of the Trailblazer Program, the G’day Moon campaign will demonstrate how Australia’s expertise in robotics technology and systems can be applied to the exploration of the Moon and space. The mission launch is expected no earlier than 2026.

Video Credit: Australian Space Agency.