The Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC) series is the annual conference
of the Mars Society Australia (MSA).
First held in 2001, it aims to draw together researchers, Mars Society
members and interested members of the public from all around Australia,
to meet and to share ideas.
This year’s conference was the first to be held in South Australia. It coincided with the presence of the International Space
University in Adelaide, and the launch of a major MSA
field excursion (Expedition 2) the following week. Both these events enriched the conference
by bringing to Adelaide
national and international expertise in a variety of space related fields,
making available many of the speakers you will hear in these
proceedings. Another welcome aspect of
this international exchange was the unprecedented attendance of many
international Mars Society members as AMEC delegates.
South Australia has a special place in
Australian space history as the site of the former Woomera Rocket Range. Its landscape has long been of interest to
geologists seeking to understand the history of the earth, the role of meteor
impacts in its geological history and the presence of ancient fossilised
remains. The Arkaroola
region is internationally recognised as a place with unique geology where
important lessons may be learned about how to search for evidence of ancient
life on Mars. In the future, MSA hopes to undertake a number of research
projects in the area and you can hear these described in detail some of the
Mars research is characterised by its stimulating, interdisciplinary
nature, and also by existing in a context of rapid change. Keynote speaker, Mr Neal Newman (NASA
representative to Australia
and South-East Asia) discusses the recent dramatic developments in US space
policy, with the announcement by the Bush administration of the new
objectives of returning to the moon, and of ultimately going on to Mars. Other speakers alluded to data recently
obtained by orbiting probes and the still active surface rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
MSA’s South Australian branch has been delighted
to host this year’s AMEC. We hope that you enjoy listening to these