Is this really a good idea?
The Australian Government has signed an agreement with the USA to develop a small (20kg) robotic rover to accompany future NASA moon missions. The rover will collect moon soil, which NASA will analyse for the presence of oxygen. This is a key step in making possible human habitation and – particularly worrying perhaps – mining on the moon.
It seems Australia is seen as a valuable partner in this enterprise because of our expertise in mining robotics. The rover is said to incorporate principles from the huge robotic vehicles used in mining in Western Australia.
The photos are from our trip to the mining town of Tom Price, WA, in 2009.