Aussie boffins over the moon about Roover, their robot lunar robot

Roover has been designed not merely to survive the moon's harsh conditions but thrive in them.

Roover has been designed not merely to survive the moon's harsh conditions but thrive in them. Photo: AAP

An Australian-made space rover could soon assist NASA on missions to the moon and help with the possibility of human habitation.

The ELO2 Consortium’s prototype, to be named Roover, is being unveiled at the University of Adelaide on Saturday to showcase its potential to support a space mission.

The unveiling involves the rover traversing both moon and Martian-like surfaces in a remotely operated demonstration.

The rover will be able to collect surface materials and transfer them to a NASA-operated facility that will attempt to extract oxygen from them.

This could allow astronauts to use resources on the moon to create rocket fuel and other mission consumables.

The ambition is to land a rover on the moon as part of a future NASA Artemis mission later this decade.

Consortium director Ben Sorensen said there is a focus on developing budding experts within Australia’s space industry.

“ELO2’s work is developing critical technologies essential to support the productivity and competitiveness of Australian industries and our collaboration with international partners,” he said.

Moon to Mars

“In developing a lunar rover for Australia, ELO2 has supported over 40 new jobs, including interns, and expects to support more than 150 new jobs if awarded the next phase of the Moon to Mars Trailblazer Program.”

The project was led by equipment provider EPE Oceania, of which Mr Sorenson is a director, and Lunar Outpost Oceania.

It involved collaboration with several Australian universities, such as RMIT’s Space Industry Hub manufacturing the rover structure and the University of Adelaide carrying out testing.

The University of Melbourne’s Space Laboratory conducted thermal analysis, and the Australian National University’s Institute for Space supported the development of communication subsystems.

The prototype was designed, built and tested in three months.

The rover will visit various Australian test facilities in coming months, with public appearances to offer insight into Australia’s lunar exploration efforts.


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