Lunar exploration is a serious business. No room for humour. No Rover McRoverface name for Australia’s Moon rover. Nor Matilda, Skippy, Bluey, Walkabout or Wombat although these were all submitted.
Not even Rove-r McManus, Sheila, PavRover or Bruce.
But despite all the no-goes, what to call Australia’s own Moon rover will soon be decided, after 8,000 people entered a competition run by the Australian Space Agency (ASA), to try to name it.
A four-name shortlist has been released today, with the final winner being chosen for a final vote next month.
Over the next two weeks the public will be able to vote, with one final name being released to the public on December 6th next month.
For those unaccustomed to Australia’s language quirks, we do have a habit of shortening names and adding an ‘ie’ at the end. Rover McRoverface would definitely become ‘Rovie’ for instance.
But no Bluey or Rovie in the four name shortlist. Instead, the team went with a mixture of Aboriginal words and quintessentially Australian terms.
The shortlist with additional comment from ASA:
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.
You can vote on the Australian Space Agency’s website: www.space.gov.au.