In October the Australian Space Agency signed an agreement with NASA to send an Australian rover to the moon as part of the Artemis program. Since then various departments have been hard at work developing the rover capable of operating on the Moon.
QUT has now demonstrated a navigation and perception system they developed to support the autonomous rover. The autonomous navigation system will allow the rover to navigate the Moon’s surface without any interaction required by operators down here on Earth.
Obviously, designing such a system is incredibly complicated but QUT has a track record of creating such systems for Caterpillar and other such companies. The Moon rover though is “an order of magnitude more challenging: no atmosphere, very fine, charged and reactive dust that sticks to everything, temperature variations of more than 300 degrees and 200 times the radiation of Earth” according to research lead Associate Professor Thierry Peynot.
This partnership with Boeing is part of QUT’s vision of expanding its real-world research into space. They are also involved in research projects involving other areas of space exploration such as NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover and upcoming space missions.
“We are very proud of our international reputation as the university for the real world, and through projects like this we rising to the challenge of being Australia’s leading space university too.” said QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Sheil.
It’s great to see an Aussie tertiary institution breaking new boundaries and while it’s not the first time QUT has made news with their research with their continuing commitment to their research it surely won’t be the last.