The 3rd Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC 2003) was held at Trinity College in East Perth. The theme for AMEC 2003 was 'An Invitation to Explore the Red Planet – Mars'. This was the Mars Society Australia's third annual conference, following on from the very successful AMEC 2002, which was held in Sydney.
The conference was generously hosted by Trinity College, a boys school in East Perth. The College, which has a strong astronomical curriculum, owns and operates a Ritchey-Chretien Cassegrain 31.5 cm (12.5”) telescope built by Star Instruments of the USA, which is mounted on the roof of the school's Senior Science Block. An outcome of the conference was the establishment of the Centre for Planetary and Space Studies, a joint venture with the Mars Society and Trinity College, to supplement Trinity College's current Astronomy curriculum. As part of the association, Trinity is also providing a Laboratory building for the Starchaser Marsupial Rover, which can be used as a Command and Control Centre for Mars simulations.
Proceedings were gracefully opened on Saturday morning by the Lord Mayor of Perth, Dr Peter Natrass. The conference's keynote speaker was Dr Vadim Gushin, chief investigator at the Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, and a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. An internationally renowned expert on the psychological effects of space travel, Dr Gushin enriched the conference enormously, sharing his expertise and experiences with conference delegates.
Perth being so removed from the rest of the country, we did not expect to have a great influx of delegates. Although a small conference, the topics and camaraderie established by members bode well for future projects and collaborations.
In this CD you will hear samples of talks which demonstrate the great talent in the Mars Society Australia and in organisations around Australia. It is the work of many researchers such as these that will pave the way for humanity to set up another home in our solar system, confirming our place as a spacefaring species.
Running a conference such as this was a new experience for my wife Maureen and myself. Much of the success, however, must be attributed to the mentoring from previous AMEC conveners, Guy Murphy, Jennifer Laing and Michael West. I would especially like to additionally thank Victoria and Ian Jackson and their Art Gallery Café, for coming to the rescue for our gala dinner when we couldn’t meet the minimum requirements for the previously booked venue. Our thanks to the many others who helped make the conference such a success.
On to Mars!