The Moon and Mars are on our list of places to go in the coming years and the space community is excited. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has just announced that Australia and NASA will be joining forces on these upcoming missions. This also includes NASA’s Artemis lunar program.
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The partnership was announced this past Saturday at NASA Headquarters in Washington. During this ceremony NASA Deputy Administrator, Jim Morhard, and Head of the Australian Space Agency, Megan Clark signed a joint statement highlighting the partnership. Australian businesses and researchers plan on contributing to the mission's needs, which include but are not limited to, robotics, automation, and remote asset management.
Australia plans on spending $150 million over five years for the collaboration. “We are honored by today's statement and the commitment of our friends from Australia to support us in our mission to return to the Moon by 2024 with the Artemis program,” Morhard said.
“The strong relationship between NASA and the Australian Space Agency affirms NASA's commitment to establishing sustainable exploration with our commercial and international partners by 2028.”
For the uninitiated, NASA's Project Artemis plans on taking humans to the Moon by 2024. “Through Artemis, NASA will send the first woman and next man to the surface of the Moon by 2024, and establish sustainable exploration with our commercial and international partners by 2028”, says NASA
NASA also has plans for Mars in 2020. The Mars 2020 team and ExoMars rover science teams have already been testing some mission technology in the Australian Outback as the environment does bear some resemblance to the Mars environment.
According to NASA, “Saturday’s joint statement strengthens the relationship between Australia and the U.S. and broadens the community of nations joining NASA in further exploration of the Moon, Mars, and beyond.