Australia has agreed to manufacture a semi-autonomous lunar probe weighing 20 kilograms, to be taken by NASA to the moon in early 2026 in search of oxygen.
According to the Russia Today website, a government statement said that the vehicle will collect soil containing oxides, and NASA will use separate equipment to extract oxygen from that soil.
The oxygen extracted from the lunar surface will eventually be used to maintain a human presence on the Moon and support future missions to Mars.
“NASA has been impressed by the technology used in the remote control of the massive 1,600-foot dump trucks that transport iron ore from mines in northwest Australia,” said Australian Space Agency Vice President Anthony Murphyt.
For his part, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that the agreement will strengthen the relationship with Australia related to space exploration, and this relationship dates back to more than 50 years.