The Australian Space Agency launched a competition back in September to name the Aussie-made rover which will be sent to the Moon on a future NASA mission.
The agency received more than 8,000 entries from across Australia and announced the shortlist of four names for a public vote today.
As the Head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palermo, says:
It’s less about the destination, more about the journey: the technical skills that are being developed in robotics across the nation is very exciting.
Having missions like this will develop the workforce that will enhance these technologies and show what can come from studying STEM.
In the five years since the launch of the Australian Space Agency we’ve seen the nation transform around space. That’s vitally important as all parts of our economy rely on space: climate mitigation, essential services like the weather, and navigating around our cities.
These names are creative and inspirational and really capture Aussie ingenuity and Aussie spirit.
Please join us to vote to name Australia’s Lunar Rover!
The Australian Space Agency, in partnership with NASA, is working with Australia’s space industry to design and build an Australian-made, semi-autonomous rover to go to the Moon as part of the Artemis Program.
Drawing on Australia’s world-leading remote operations expertise, the rover will collect lunar soil, known as regolith, and NASA will attempt to extract oxygen from the sample. This is a key step towards a sustainable human presence on the Moon.
Two Australian consortiums – AROSE and ELO2 – are currently working on early-stage rover concepts. The Australian Space Agency will assess and then select one of the consortia to design and develop the fully realised rover for the mission to the Moon.
The rover is set to launch to the Moon with NASA in a future Artemis mission as early as 2026, and the Australian Space Agency wants to bring everyone on our nation’s journey.
More than 8,000 Australians submitted an entry to name the rover in the first round of the competition. Those entries have been reduced to a shortlist of four.
The shortlist names are:
Coolamon (Anil, Vic): Capturing the essence of our Indigenous heritage and connection to the land, a coolamon is a multi-purpose, sustainable tool used for gathering and carrying. It symbolises the balance between utility and respect for the environment, mirroring our approach to space exploration.
Kakirra (Hamilton Secondary College, SA): Translated from the Kaurna region in Adelaide, Kakirra means ‘Moon’… and is a tribute to the history of Australia, just as the rover is about the future of this country. The rover is very important to lunar expeditions and is a big step for Australia.
Mateship (Joseph, Vic): From the spirit of the Anzacs, to your mate at the local footy club, it’s a crucial part of Australian culture. Whether you’re young or old, live in the city or in the outback, we all possess this indescribable trait. Let’s say ‘G’Day Mate’ to new horizons and the lunar surface.
Roo-ver (Siwa, NSW): Our lunar rover deserves to be named after something iconically Australian, reflecting the Aussie spirit as we launch into this new endeavour. A kangaroo is part of the Australian Coat of Arms and it’s time for Australian science to take the next leap all the way up into space.
People can now vote via the Australian Space Agency’s website:
Voting will close at 11.59pm AEDT on Friday 1 December.
The results of the public vote will be announced on 6 December 2023.
Snapshot of other entries
Most popular: Matilda, Skippy, Bluey, Walkabout, Wombat, Rover McRoverface.
Aussie slang: Fair Dinkum, Bonza, She’ll be right, Dropbear, Mate, Strewth, PavRover.
Notable Aussies: Burt ‘Moonface’ Newton, Rove-r McManus, Steve Irwin, Sam Kerr, Blinky Bill, Barassi (the first ruck-rover in the AFL), Red Dog, Mad Max and Katherine Bennell-Pegg (our very own astronaut in training).
Also received multiple entries for names such as Bruce, Steve, Bob, Diana, Trevor, Sheila and Ruby.