Australians have spoken and christened the country’s new moon rover Roo-ver after a competition with 8,000 entries and nearly 20,000 votes.
The name was submitted by New South Wales resident Siwa, who said the rover should be named after Australia’s iconic kangaroos. Chosen from 8,000 suggestions, the three other finalists for a name were Kakirra, Coolamon and Mateship. Roo-ver won with 35% of the vote.
The rover is part of the Australian Space Agency’s Moon to Mars initiative. Roo-ver will be carried to the moon by a NASA rocket, where it will collect lunar soil to extract oxygen from rocks, part of efforts to develop a sustainable human presence on the moon.
Roo-ver is part of Australia’s contribution to NASA’s Artemis human exploration program, which hopes to return humans to the moon as a step toward reaching Mars.
Working with commercial and international partners, NASA’s Artemis program will build a base camp on the moon, so astronauts can live on the surface and conduct experiments. It will also serve as a jumping-off point for sending humans deeper into space, with hopes of landing the first humans on Mars.
The Australian Space Agency is still finishing designs for the rover, but Roo-ver could be launched as early as 2026.
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