The names in the running for Australia’s lunar rover
Source: Australian Space Agency
Australians have a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to name the country’s first lunar rover – and it’s down to four names, with Rover McRoverface not even in the running.
The Australian Space Agency is working with NASA to design and build a rover, which could be sent to the moon as early as 2026 as part of the Artemis mission.
On September 5, the Australian Space Agency opened a competition to allow for people to enter a name for the Australian-made rover.
By the time the competition closed on October 20, more than 8200 names had been put forward. That has been further cut back to a shortlist of just four announced on Monday.
The four names for Australia’s lunar rover
The final names “capture a sense of Australian Spirit”, according to the agency.
Now Australians have until 11.59pm (AEDT) on December 1 to vote for their favourite.
Speaking to ABC Breakfast on Monday from the Australian Space Agency’s headquarters in Adelaide, Enrico Palermo said he was proud of the four names that had been shortlisted.
He said the judging panel had a month to sift through all 8200 entries, looking for names that were creative, unique and identifiable, and weren’t “repeating something that was out there”.
Here are the four shortlisted names – and their descriptions, provided by the ASA.
Capturing the essence of our Indigenous heritage and connection to the land, a coolamon is a multipurpose, sustainable tool used for gathering and carrying. It symbolises the balance between utility and respect for the environment, mirroring our approach to space exploration.
Translated from the Kaurna region in Adelaide, Kakirra means “moon” and is a tribute to the history of Australia, just as the rover is about the future of this country. The rover is very important to lunar expeditions and is a big step for Australia.
From the spirit of the Anzacs, to your mate at the local footy club, it’s a crucial part of Australian culture. Whether you’re young or old, live in the city or in the outback, we all possess this indescribable trait. Let’s say ‘G’Day Mate’ to new horizons and the lunar surface.
Our lunar rover deserves to be named after something iconically Australian, reflecting the Aussie spirit as we launch into this endeavour. A kangaroo is part of the Australian coat of arms and it’s time for Australian science to take the next leap all the way up into space.
The winner will be announced on December 6.
Vote for your favourite name here.