Design a Sample Collection System for Australia’s Lunar Rover


ELO2, the consortium behind Australia’s first lunar rover, is inviting space enthusiasts to design a system to collect soil from the Moon and deposit it at a NASA run facility.

The ELO2 Big Dipper Regolith Acquisition Challenge says it welcomes anyone with big ideas, from creators to seasoned engineers to be a part of Australia’s contribution to a sustainable human presence on the Moon.

This challenge is set to build a collection system for the ELO2 Australian-made, semi-autonomous rover that aims to be part of a future mission to the Moon.

Phase 1 of the Big Dipper Lunar Regolith Acquisition Challenge will harness the power of Computer-Aided Design to craft a Regolith Sample Acquisition Device, a pivotal component of this lunar rover.

Phase 2 will build on designs by developing a list of design recommendations to inform and inspire future rover designs. Ten challenge winners will share in a $15,000 prize pool.

Through this challenge, ELO2 will deliver next generation space capability and show that the science and technology we’re developing now is more than sustaining a rover on the Moon.

The autonomous robotic systems and technologies developed for space will be used to help us with current and emerging challenges such as monitoring climate change, increasing access and viability of critical minerals to fuel Earth’s green transition, to revolutionising the delivery of remote operations including healthcare, that will benefit us all on Earth.

“ELO2 is designing and developing world-leading technology, including how to apply this knowledge to existing and emerging industries,” said EPE’s Director Innovation and Commercialisation, Ben Sorensen. “From automated and on-demand manufacturing, space and terrestrial communications, autonomous and remote operation of field and home robotics, cyber assurance of robotic systems, digital twins, AI and machine learning, and chemical and radiation sensors to keep people safe in hazardous environments, the applications beyond the Moon are enormous.”

EPE Trusted to Protect (EPE) is co-leading this consortium with Lunar Outpost Oceania and are proud to be chosen by the Australian Space Agency to develop a preliminary design for Australia’s first lunar rover under the Trailblazer program.

“Our mission is to foster new horizons in the Australian space sector, focusing on the collaboration and projects that will help Australia build expertise and supply chains for critical technologies,” said Joseph Kenrick, Program Manager at Lunar Outpost Oceania. “We will build on experience and lessons learned from the development of Lunar Outpost’s Lunar Voyage 1 and Lunar Voyage 2 MAPP rovers. By actively contributing to NASA’s Artemis program, we are leading the way for a technology-led innovation funding model with government, industry and research partners to sustain growth in the Australian space industry.”

The ELO2 Big Dipper Regolith Acquisition System must be durable, repeatable and scalable to pave the way for future exploration of the Moon.

The system should take into account cosmic radiation, lunar dust which is sharp abrasive and electrostatically charged, extremes of temperature and operate in total darkness.

The winning design could redefine how we acquire and utilise lunar regolith (Moon rocks and soil), paving the way for future extraction of oxygen.

This is a key step towards establishing a sustainable human presence on the Moon.

More information and to register for the challenge:


Phase 1

  • Challenge Launch: 17 October 2023
  • Submission Deadline: 18 December 2023 11:59pm
  • Judging and Evaluation: 19 December 2023 – 5 January 2024
  • Winners Announcement: 8 January 2024

Phase 2

  • Challenge Launch: 25 January 2024
  • Submission Deadline: 1 March 2024 11:59pm
  • Judging and Evaluation: 4 March 2024 – 20 March 2024
  • Winners Announcement: 21 March 2024

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