Last updated September 23, 2019 at 2:47 pm
Australia has signed a new partnership with NASA in support of future space missions.
Why This Matters: Travel to Mars is on the horizon, and Australia will be on board.
The announcement was made during a ceremony at NASA Headquarters in Washington which saw the Head of the Australian Space Agency Megan Clark, sign a joint statement of intent with NASA Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard.
“This investment through the Australian Space Agency will give Australian businesses and researchers the opportunity to bring our capabilities to NASA’s Moon to Mars mission and it will give Australian businesses the chance to compete for a place in growing international space supply chains,” Morrison said at the press conference.
“We can’t wait to be part of the next stellar chapter, so beam us up.”
The agreement builds on Australia’s history of working closely with international space agencies.
A milestone for Australia’s Space Agency
“This agreement is all about opportunity, for us to take the Australian space sector to the next level, grow our economy and create new local jobs,” Andrews says.
The government will invest $150 million over five years into local businesses and researchers who will support NASA’s Artemis mission to return to the Moon. The ambitious mission aims to not only put the first woman on the Moon, but also to establish a Moon base for future travel to Mars.
Projected Australian contributions could be in areas such as robotics, automation and remote asset management – similar to what we use in mining operations.
Lifting Australia’s engagement in the global space sector
A press release from the Australian Space Agency, released shortly after the announcement, outlines the key elements of the agreement.
This investment will focus on three integrated elements that will lift Australian engagement in the global space sector:
• demonstrator and pilot projects which showcase investment-ready Australian capabilities to NASA and the U.S.’s international space supply chains (e.g. in the areas of robotics, automation, Artificial Intelligence, and earth observation)
• working with NASA to identify how Australia can support a significant part of NASA’s ‘return to the Moon and on to Mars’ program, leveraging Australia’s key strengths (e.g. drawing on the demonstrator and pilot projects)
• supporting access to international space supply chains that support NASA, including capability building to help the Australian space sector meet the stringent requirements of supplying products and services in the global space industry
“We’re backing Australian businesses to the moon, and even Mars, and back,” Morrison says.