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Australia Joins NASA in Lunar Exploration and Beyond

By | September 23, 2019
The moon. Photo: Shutterstock

The moon. Photo: Shutterstock

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed his nation’s intention to join the United States’ Moon to Mars exploration approach, including NASA’s Artemis lunar program. The statement foresees potential Australian contributions in areas of mutual interest such as robotics, automation, and remote asset management – similar to that currently used by Australia in mining operations. As part of Australia’s commitment to partner with NASA, Morrison pledged to more than triple the Australian Space Agency budget to support Artemis and Moon to Mars.

“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 establish sustainable exploration with our commercial and international partners by 2028.”

Although the Australian Space Agency is relatively new, established a little over a year ago, Australia has a long tradition of working closely with the U.S. in space activities. A formal agreement between NASA and the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) signed in 1960 allows for tracking and communication of NASA missions through the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) at Tidbinbilla, as well as the Data Relay Satellite facilities in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, and Dongara, Western Australia. The CDSCC serves as an integral component of NASA’s Deep Space Network.