Overview of International Mars Society Research

Guy Murphy

President, Mars Society Australia

--- Abstract - Profile ---

Abstract: The Mars Society has pioneered a field of study known as Mars analogue research. This seeks to investigate technologies, exploration strategies and human factors issues involved in the future human exploration of Mars by undertaking realistic earth based simulations. In doing so, it seeks to highlight gaps in the existing body of knowledge, and encourage further research by the wider scientific community.

Research activities to date have focused on Mars Analogue Research Stations Mars (MARS). These are prototypes of a habitat that will land humans on Mars and are essentially laboratories for learning how to live and work on another planet. Existing MARS are located at Devon Island in northern Canada and in Utah, with additional MARS planned for Iceland and outback Australia. The Mars Society's Pressurized Rover Project involves the design and construction of vehicles, which simulate the small-pressurized vehicles that could accompany an initial human Mars mission. Field-testing of the first of these vehicles will commence later this year. Analogue space suits have also been developed for use in simulations with the MARS and rovers. The Mars Society's first space mission is the Mars Gravity Biosatellite Project This will perform the first substantial research on mammalian physiology and development in Martian gravity by flying a group of mice in low Earth orbit for 7 weeks, spinning to provide them with centrifugal "artificial gravity" at the levels of the Martian surface.

PROFILE: Guy Murphy has a Bachelor of Arts (economic history) and a Graduate Diploma (architectural history & conservation) from the University of Melbourne. He works as a heritage consultant in Melbourne, researching and documenting historic buildings. A founding member in 1998 and the current president of the Mars Society Australia, Guy is also a member of the Mars Society's International Steering Committee and last year attended the US Mars Society Convention at Stanford University. He also participated in Project Jarntimarra in 2001 assisting the search for Mars analogue sites in the outback regions of Central Australia. Particular interests include space architecture, crew psychology and parallels between Australian history and contemporary space exploration. He is keen to see the MSA further develop its research program. Guy is the author of a forthcoming architectural monograph.