The ELO2 consortium will today unveil a prototype of what could be chosen as Australia’s first lunar rover.
Led by EPE and Lunar Outpost Oceania, ELO2 is one of two consortia chosen by the Australian Space Agency to develop early-stage design concepts for a Moon rover.
ELO2 Technical Director with Lunar Outpost Oceania Joseph Kenrick said: “Our consortium’s unveiling of the lunar rover prototype is a testament to Australia’s commitment to space exploration.
“This unveiling marks the beginning of an exciting journey and invites every Australian to be part of our nation’s cosmic endeavours.”
The consortium is working on the project under the Australian Space Agency’s Moon to Mars Trailblazer program which aims to land the rover on the Moon as part of a future NASA Artemis mission later this decade.
If selected for the mission, on the Moon’s surface, it will be tasked with transporting lunar regolith (Moon soil) to a NASA-run facility for the extraction of oxygen.
The initial prototype focuses on testing chassis and suspension subsystems and features an early design of a collection device and special wheels that will enable the rover to cross the Moon’s challenging terrain.
Prototyping such as this is an important step in testing designs for continuous improvement; something that is essential in the space industry.
Beyond transporting regolith, the rover would autonomously navigate the lunar environment, locate and collect regolith, and is an essential element to enable NASA’s in-situ resource utilisation facility to operate.
Director of Innovation and Commercialization at EPE Ben Sorensen said: “ELO2 is designing and developing world-leading technology, capitalising on Australia’s strengths, and leveraging Trailblazer funding to develop dual-use critical technologies able to support technology development for AUKUS Pillar II.
“This initiative extends beyond advancing our space industry; it encompasses critical applications in climate change monitoring, critical mineral sourcing for Earth’s green transition, and remote operations in healthcare.
“This integrated approach not only benefits our space endeavours but also contributes significantly to vital industries on Earth.”