National Innovation Challenge for Australia’s First Lunar Rover Arm Design Opens

November 14, 2023

Launched by ELO2 &, the new challenge will allow Australian innovators to contribute to Australia’s first lunar rover.

Image: Supplied

The Australian Space Agency, in collaboration with NASA’s Artemis program, is embarking on an ambitious journey to design Australia’s first lunar rover. The ELO2 Big Dipper Lunar Regolith Acquisition Challenge is an open invitation for innovators and enthusiasts to be a part of this groundbreaking mission.

Hosted by, the challenge revolves around the design of a Regolith Sample Acquisition Device, a crucial component of the lunar rover. This device will be responsible for collecting lunar soil samples (regolith) and transporting them to an In-situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU) facility managed by NASA. The overarching goal is to extract oxygen from the lunar regolith, paving the way for sustained human presence and exploration on the Moon and beyond.

“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 and Technical Lead for ELO2.

“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.”

More in-depth details surrounding the challenge, including guidelines, timelines, prize allocations, and the criteria for concept proposals can be accessed here:

Challenge Information

Imagine a lunar rover perched upon the Moon’s surface, tasked with the objective of gathering and transporting lunar regolith to be used to extract oxygen. This mission will help pave the way for sustained human presence and exploration on the Moon and beyond.

In this Phase 1 challenge, the objective is to design a Regolith Sample Acquisition Device that can be attached to an Australian designed rover for the collection of lunar soil (regolith) and deposit at an In-situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU) facility run by NASA. Phase 2 will provide the opportunity to integrate what is learnt from feedback and testing of Phase 1 winning designs into a set of design recommendations that will be useful for implementation.

Entrants don’t have to be an engineer or space expert to participate in this challenge, or even need to have experience with CAD design. All it takes is an idea, and a commitment to communicate it. ELO2 and will provide resources to help get entrants started on a simple CAD program so that they can share their ideas via this platform.


Up to 10 designs will be chosen as winning submissions in this phase, to share in a prize pool of AU$15,000 during the first phase. Winners of Phase 2 will share in a prize pool of $3,000.

Beyond monetary rewards, winners will have the opportunity to engage with experts, have their designs showcased online and tested by groups throughout Australia.

Challenge Rules

The challenge is open to Australian Residents/Citizens or a team with at least one Australian Resident as a contributing member. All submissions must originate from Australia or have been substantially transformed in Australia. Submissions must be made in English, and communication related to the challenge will be conducted in English.

For more information about the challenge, head to Freelancer.

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