The Australian Government’s $50 million Moon to Mars Trailblazer Program is now open for applications.Applications for the Trailblazer program will close on 28 February 2022.
The Trailblazer program is part of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources’ (DISER) $150 million Moon to Mars Initiative. The program will see up to $50 million made available for Australian businesses and researchers to develop and build a small lunar rover which will NASA will take to the Moon as early as 2026.
The semi-autonomous rover will collect lunar soil and deliver it to NASA equipment which will attempt to extract oxygen. This is a key step towards establishing a sustainable human presence on the Moon. It will also support future missions to Mars.
Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price said this is an exceptional opportunity for Australian industry to deliver on a grand scale.
“Through this program Australian businesses will get to work closely with NASA, which will bring them into the focus of global space players,” she said.
“Excitingly, this program will deliver right along the supply chain – from the scientific minds that will come up with the design of the rover to the manufacturers which will make it come to life.
“That’s why we invest in space – not only does the technology that’s developed improve our everyday life but it drives growth across a range of industries and creates jobs for Australians across a range of skillsets.”
Stage 1 of the Trailblazer program will see 1 or 2 consortia down-selected to receive up to $4 million each to develop a lunar rover to go through to Preliminary Design Review. Based on that review a single consortium will be chosen to further develop its rover design through to launch and operation on the Moon.
This national mission sits alongside other commercial efforts from Australian organisations to develop and send technology to the Moon. Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said this mission will build on that momentum in the sector.
“This is an incredible opportunity for Australian organisations to demonstrate their capability on the global stage, which will push them to grow and create fantastic new career opportunities for Australians,” Mr Palermo said.
“The opportunities that building and operating this rover will present to those involved will extend well beyond just this mission – it will set them up to seriously compete internationally well into the future.”
The Australian Government has invested more than $800 million in the civil space sector since July 2018, as part of the goal to triple the sector’s size to $12 billion and create up to an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030.
Applications for the Trailblazer program will close on 28 February 2022, with more information, including the detailed guidelines, available at business.gov.au/grants-and-programs/moon-to-mars-trailblazer
Applications for the Trailblazer program will close on 28 February 2022.