Newswise — Young Japanese space enthusiasts will take part in a space rover experience at the University of Adelaide, without ever stepping on a plane.

On Saturday 25 March, students will drive rovers remotely from the TeNQ Space Museum in Tokyo, almost 8,000km from the University’s North Terrace campus.

The rovers will be in the University’s state-of-the-art Exterres Lab, which is specifically designed to simulate an off-Earth environment that provides researchers and industry with the opportunity to co-design, test and develop technologies and processes.

The students will practice basic navigation tasks, following a lunar road around the pit using the rovers on the unique surface and complete “missions”.

The cameras mounted on the rovers will feed live pictures of the Exterres Lab and rover pit to the participants and spectators in the Tokyo Dome.

Associate Professor John Culton, Director of the University of Adelaide's Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources (ATCSR), said it is important to educate the next generation of young space enthusiasts.

“Opportunities like this show young people what is possible and hopefully inspire them to consider what a career in space might look like,” Associate Professor Culton said.

“Space engineers of the future are now able to gain hands-on experience of driving rovers while at school and university. Previously these skills could only be attained via specialised courses that were only available to a few people.

“Space research started as a country-based challenge but today it is a globally connected effort that the University of Adelaide is proud to be part of.

“We are undertaking work that is done in very few places in the world. The ATCSR is a focal point to help our researchers reach out into the international space community.”

University of Adelaide researchers play an important role in the global space community and will be supporting NASA’s Artemis Program by using it’s globally unique off-Earth simulation facilities in support of critical research being carried out by international industry and research partners.

The University of Tokyo’s Professor Hirdy Miyamoto is one of the world leaders in planetary geoscience and the lead scientist of the TSUKIMI Lunar mission, and will lead the event from Tokyo.

Professor Miyamoto has been a key contributor to the ATCSR’s education research and outreach programs, delivering guest lectures and public seminars on planetary geoscience as well as taking part in specialist workshops on space resources.

“Building relationships between universities through events such as this demonstrates the global collaboration that is fundamental in realising humanities future in space, and enables people to experience elements of space operations that will one day be common place,” said Professor Miyamoto.

This event is made possible through the use of unique software created by DroneDeploy who have made their cutting-edge technology available for rover operation and by DigitalBlast, who have organised the event in Japan.

“We are happy to enable this important event between like-minded people in Japan and Australia and help them make connections so they can share ideas and inspire them to be the next generation of space enthusiasts.” said David Inggs, Head of Robotics at DroneDeploy.