spaceconnect logo

Lunar rover undergoes testing before summit appearance

The ELO2 consortium will display the latest prototype of its lunar rover at the Australian Space Summit & Exhibition next week.

It comes after the design was formally accredited with the Australian Made certification following its unveiling in March.

Space Connect’s event will take place at the ICC in Sydney on Tuesday and Wednesday. To find out more and book tickets, click here.

ELO2 is competing with rival AROSE to provide a rover to NASA to support its Moon to Mars Mission.


It’s hoped the winning design will collect lunar regolith, or Moon soil, that will eventually be turned into oxygen to support a permanent human base.

Regolith can both become oxygen that humans can breathe or aid the production of rocket fuel necessary to support the launch of a rocket from the moon to Mars and beyond.

Space Connect understands the Australian Space Agency will likely pick the winning design later this year, while a blast-off could occur as early as 2026.

Last month, the device was taken to Brisbane for testing at EPE’s MILTECS test facility.


“This testing campaign focused on assessing the rovers’ ability to operate autonomously, navigating on its own without human operator instructions, and its capacity to successfully complete the mission,” said ELO2.

“Testing the rovers’ design to handle bumpy terrains and reliably collect and deposit lunar soil, known as “regolith”, is one of the methods used by the ELO2 team to de-risk the project.

“Data from these tests will help the engineers to understand how the centre of gravity on the lunar surface, which is completely different to that experienced on Earth, will impact the rover’s manoeuvrability.”

The ELO2 consortium consists of organisations, including universities, SMEs, and those in the mining sector.

In particular, the University of Adelaide is responsible for the rover’s ongoing testing, Inovor provided the electrical power system, and BHP provided expertise in excavation.

Both groups have been spruiking their credentials in recent weeks in the battle to win the contract to provide the rover.

Earlier this year, AROSE announced it had signed its 23rd member, Raytracer, best known for creating underwater VR training for astronauts.

Raytracer’s underwater VR tech allows trainees to experience a weightlessness-like feeling while watching high-resolution 3D renders on a headset.

The company believes its innovation is a world first, as it allows astronauts to train at a fraction of the cost of traditional space training methods.

It also allows members to participate in the same simulation while based in separate locations hundreds of kilometres away.

AROSE was co-founded in 2020 by former astronaut Colonel Pamela Melroy, now NASA’s deputy administrator.

It aims to take advantage of remote operations’ expertise in Australia’s resource sector and adapt it to industries such as space.

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

Receive the latest developments and updates on Australia’s space industry direct to your inbox. Subscribe today to Space Connect here.

Receive the latest developments and updates on Australia’s space industry direct to your inbox. Subscribe today to Space Connect.