Australia agrees to build rover to help NASA find oxygen on Moon

The 20-kilogram semi-autonomous lunar rover by Australia will collect soil from the lunar surface that contains oxides and NASA will use separate equipment to extract the oxygen from that soil.

Created On: Oct 13, 2021 16:53 IST
Australian Rover on moon
Australian Rover on moon

Australia has announced that it will build a 20-kilogram semi-autonomous lunar rover for NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) to take to the moon as early as 2026 in search of oxygen.

The Deputy Head of Australian Space Agency, Anthony Murfett said that NASA had been impressed by the technology that was used to remotely control from 1,600 kilometers huge dump trucks that transport iron ore from the mines in northwest Australia.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson also said that the agreement between the Australian and US Space Agencies will strengthen a relationship with Australia related to space exploration that dates back more than 50 years.

The agreement depends on the rover meeting a range of conditions during its development.

How rover will help in finding oxygen on Moon?

According to the government statement, the 20-kilogram semi-autonomous lunar rover by Australia will collect soil that contains oxides and NASA will use separate equipment to extract the oxygen from that soil.

Oxygen extracted from the lunar surface will ultimately be used to sustain a human presence on the moon and also support future missions to Mars.

NASA’s Perseverance Rover extracts first oxygen from Mars

In April 2021, NASA released a press release stating that NASA’s Perseverance Rover on Mars was able to convert some of the Red Planet’s thin, carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere into oxygen.

The US Space Agency informed that a toaster-size, experimental instrument aboard Perseverance called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) accomplished the task. The test took place on April 20, the 60th Martian Day, since the mission landed on February 18.

The experiment was announced as a critical step at converting Carbon dioxide to oxygen on Mars. The results were full of promise as the researchers move towards the goal of one-day seeing humans on Mars.

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