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                 The Mars Society Australia, Inc is an APPROVED RESEARCH INSTITUTE for the purposes of Section 73A of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 for undertaking scientific research which is, or may prove to be, of value to Australia.


Report on AMEC 2006, Melbourne, Victoria

October 13th – 15th, 2006

Theme: Establishing Base Camp: Science, Methods and Technologies to support the Human Exploration of Mars

This year’s annual conference was held at the Victorian Space Science and Education Centre (VSSEC). Around fifty delegates attended as well as speakers from all around Australia. The topic was “Establishing Base Camp: Science, Methods and Technologies to support the Human Exploration of Mars.” This topic was then broken down into five categories, and the presentations were delivered in eight sessions as follows:

Session 1 – Keynote Addresses

  1. Terrestrial Formation of Jarosite Alunite Minerals as Analogs for Weathering on Mars

  2. The Mars Science Lab Site Selection Process
  3. Mineralisation on Mars: Mechanisms and Terrestrial Analogues.

Session 2 – Mars Analogue Studies

  1. The Mars Society Australia’s Mission Architecture, Designs for a Manned Mars Mission

  2. In-Situ Resource Utilisation Through Water Extraction from Hydrated Minerals – Relevance to Mars Missions and an Australian Analogue.
  3. The Lawn Hill Circular Structure North Eastern Queensland: An Analogue for Martian Muddy Splat?

Session 3 – Mars Science & Engineering I

  1. Granular Materials Research for Martian and Other Planetary Exploration

Session 4 – Mars (Policy and Planning)

  1. Risk Perceptions of Mars Sample Return

Session 5 – Mars Science & Engineering II

  1. Visysphere Mars: Terraforming Meets Engineered Life Adaptation

  2. The Application of Next Generation Electric Propulsion Systems to Mars Exploration

Session 6 – Mars Science & Engineering III

  1. An Overview of Phobos and Deimos and Their Exploration

  2. Designing and Testing of a Small Gas/Liquid Rocket Engine

Session 7 – Communication, Education and Outreach I

  1. The Moon/Mars Workshop

  2. Mars Sample Return – Do Australians Trust NASA?
  3. The Mars Analogue Research Station: A Secondary Student’s Perspective

Session 8 – Communication, Education and Outreach II

  1. Vision for the Victorian Space Science and Education Centre

  2. Centre for Planetary and Space Studies (CPSS) Lecture Series

All the talks were very insightful, and speakers included Tom Gordon from the International Space University in France, who spoke on Terra forming Mars. Tom introduced the confrontational issue of genetically engineering humans to better suit the martian environment, thus creating ‘real’ Martians. Other speakers included Marion Anderson from Monash University, who is involved with NASA in selecting possible landing sites on Mars. As part of AMEC 2006, delegates and speakers took part in a guided tour of The Victorian Space Science and Education Centre (VSSEC) facility. VSSEC is designed to create interest in space exploration for years 7-10 school students. Tour highlights included a visit to the Martian surface, a room with simulated Martian conditions, and a stop in the very life like mission control room. Overall the conference was a success and was thoroughly enjoyed by all participants – particularly those who are looking forward to contributing to future Mars Colonisation.

Alyssa Weinstein


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