Manufacturing News, Space Manufacturing

Designs for Australia’s First Lunar Rover Excavator Revealed By ELO2 and Freelancer

Australian freelancing marketplace Freelancer.com and space consortium ELO2 announced the phase one winners of the ELO2 Big Dipper Lunar Regolith Acquisition Challenge.

The Australian Space Agency, in collaboration with NASA’s Artemis program, is embarking on an ambitious journey to design Australia’s first lunar rover.

Announced in October 2023, the ELO2 Big Dipper Lunar Regolith Acquisition Challenge is an open invitation for innovators and enthusiasts to be a part of this groundbreaking mission.

Hosted by Freelancer.com, the challenge revolves around the design of a Regolith Sample Acquisition Device, a crucial component of the lunar rover.

This device will be responsible for collecting lunar soil samples (regolith) and transporting them to an In-situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU) facility managed by NASA.

The overarching goal is to extract oxygen from the lunar regolith, paving the way for sustained human presence and exploration on the Moon and beyond.

As Phase 1 concluded, the project team engaged diverse groups across Australia to participate in putting the winning solutions to the test.

These workshops aimed to gather crucial data and feedback, laying the foundation for Phase 2. Now in Phase 2, participants will leverage insights gleaned from the winning designs to craft a comprehensive set of tangible design recommendations for future lunar rover implementations.

“We are impressed with the number and quality of submissions we received in Phase 1,” said Joseph Kenrick, ELO2 technical director, “the different perspectives and insights from the teams is helping inform our own designs for the regolith acquisition device. We can’t wait to see what comes out of Phase 2!”

“We’re excited to be part of history in helping ELO2 design a regolith collector for Australia’s first lunar rover. Phase 1 winners demonstrated creative ingenuity and innovative thinking in addressing the unique challenge brief. They’re a real showcase of how open innovation challenges can help crowdsource new ideas. We look forward to seeing how these ideas come to life in Phase 2 and are adopted in the final lunar rover design,” said Trisha Epp, program manager at Freelancer.com.

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