Australia will join the United States on the mission to return to the lunar surface and then fly to Mars.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday announced his government will join the Moon-to-Mars project, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Artemis lunar program. Morrison pledged to more than triple the Australian Space Agency’s budget, according to a statement from Nasa during Morrison’s US visit.
The potential Australian contributions will include robotics, automation and remote asset management—similar to systems used in its mining operations.
Australia, which formed a space agency a year ago, provided land-based communication links to orbiting manned flights for Nasa, and handled the initial videos from Apollo 11 during the historic walk on the moon 50 years ago.
Artemis is a US project to send astronauts to the lunar surface and establish sustainable missions with commercial and international partners by 2028.