Australia's new space agency is embarking into a bold and ambitious program — it wants to mine water and other resources from the moon.
The Australian Space Agency, a newcomer in the global space industry, which was established in July 2018, is adopting a commercial and start-up attitude toward its approach to cosmic ventures.
ASA said it will help businesses win a greater share of the global space market. Using Australia's advantages in industrial skills and farming in remote locations, ASA wants to source water from the moon within five years.
Getting Water From The Moon
The quest for water on the moon has been a holy grail for scientists and space enthusiasts.
"Getting things from the surface of the Earth into orbit or into deep space costs a lot of money," according to Andrew Dempster, Director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research at the University of New South Wales.
Several Australian-based companies are already adapting terrestrial technologies as part of the country's quest for space.
The Rio Tinto Group has a standing proposal to mine water on the moon. Woodside Petroleum Ltd., announced that it will work with ASA to promote technology transfer between the space sector and the oil and gas sector.
Central Queensland University is spearheading a project that will use satellite positioning to track sheep or cattle movements in fenceless farming.
Sky and Space Global Ltd., is planning to launch a constellation of around 200 nanosatellites in space to provide a new global communication network for voice, data and instant messaging.
Myriota is testing sensors in the ocean that can provide specific data on currents, sea surface temperatures, and barometric pressures.
A Newcomer In The Space Race
It has only been nine months since ASA was set up. Compared to its bigwig counterparts such as NASA that has an annual budget of $20 billion, and the European Space Agency's deep pocket with $6.4 billion for explorations, ASA only has $29.14 million (A$41 million) for a four-year investment.
The agency aims to triple this budget to $8.5 billion by 2030 by leveraging on Australia's national and international networks within the space sector.
These efforts manifest that ASA is bent on its objective of becoming one of the world's most industry-focused space agencies.
Industry-Based Strategies For Space
In the next few years, Australia plans to set up a Space Infrastructure Fund to support the acceleration of its fledgling space industry.
Other significant investments will include a space manufacturing facility in New South Wales and a mission control center in South Australia. ASA also plans to expand employment in the space sector to 20,000 jobs by 2030.
It will give priority to the following: position, navigation, and timing or PNT; earth observation; communications technologies and services; space situational awareness and debris monitoring; research and development; robotics and automation on Earth and in space; and access to space.