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        Branch Pages & Contacts - Vic - NSW - Qld - SA - NT - WA - ACT - Tas - NZ                        Updated: 30 January, 2017.

                 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.

Headline Archive

The following is an archive of headline articles from the MSA website since its inception in 1999. Dates cited for articles from before 14 August, 2005 are approximate only, though their consecutive order remains accurate.

MARS-OZ Subsystem Research & Development Project
The MARS-OZ research and development project involved the design of a series of subsystems which are to be incorporated into the design of the proposed Mars mission crew habitat simulation module. These systems must facilitate the well being of the crew and provide an environment that supports the safe and efficient performance of tasks. It was the goal of this project to address the identified design deficiencies using an integrated systems approach. The study was undertaken by students at the Australian National University under the leadership of James Everdell in collaboration with the Mars Society Australia.

Read the full report here.

MSA Member Steve Hobbs Launches Space Art Gallery
MSA member Steve Hobbs is a noted photographer and space artist whose work has been used by NASA, the National Geographic Channel, Science Magazine, Design Graphics and The New Sky & Space Magazine. His copyrighted artwork (including Mars art) may be viewed at and is available for purchase in poster form. Proceeds from art sales will be used to fund a small rover development project.

First Paid Corporate Member for MSA
Mars Society Australia applauds its new corporate member, the Commonwealth Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

As a result of discussions between Ms Michele Clement, Acting General Manager, Innovation and Space Branch of the DIISR and MSA Board Members at the 11th Australian Mars Exploration Conference in Perth, the DIISR became our first paid up corporate member in August 2011. This is a major step forward for the Mars Society Australia which follows on from our Spaceward Bound Australia joint venture with NASA Ames Research Centre, our association with the Institute for Bio-Medical Problems, Moscow and the International Mars Society members. Our first Corporate member was an honorary one for the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary in South Australia, however it is expected that the DIISR will become a more active member of the MSA through its financial commitment as a Corporate member.

12th Australian Mars Exploration Conference in Canberra
The 12th Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC) will be held in Canberra in 2012. While the venue and dates are to be confirmed, however expected to be at ANU in early November. Dr Jonathon Clarke and his team will be running this event, and welcome any assistance. Further details to follow.

AMEC2011 an Outstanding Success
The 11th Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC2011) was held in Perth, Western Australia over the weekend of 22nd-24th July. It included a series of talks by internationally renowned Mars researchers including Dr Chris McKay & Dr Carol Stoker (NASA Ames) and Dr Vadim Gushin (Institute of Biomedical Problems, Russia). View the program here. The conference was an overwhelming success and the organisers wish to thank all those who attended and contributed.

Spaceward Bound: Reports from the Pilbara
Spaceward Bound Australia is on. An intrepid crew of 23 expeditioners have left Perth and been travelling ever north to investigate aspects of life on early Earth. The scientists from the NASA Ames Research Center, various universities and research institutes are anticipating expanding our knowledge and understanding of dawn of life on Earth and our solar system. From what is learnt here, can be applied to potential sites on Mars and perhaps provide an answer for the question, Are we alone in the solar system?

Read the daily reports:-
     Days 1-3
     Days 4-5
     Day 7
     Days 8 & 9
     Day 11
     Shark Bay Stromatolites

Visit the Expedition website for the itinerary, photos and expeditioner bios. Read the Expedition blog.

Seeking Mars in Perth and the Pilbara
2011 is notable for a number of significant events relating to the exploration of Mars - three new robotic Mars missions and a major human Mars mission simulation. In this eventful year Mars Society Australia (MSA) announces two Mars-related events to the Australian media, the Spaceward Bound Australia 2011 Pilbara Expedition (SBA 2011, July 10-21), and the 2011 Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC) in Perth (July 23-24). The SBA 2011 Expedition is a joint initiative of the NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) and MSA.

Read the full media release.

Dr Vadim Gushin & Dr Chris McKay Keynote Speakers at AMEC2011
This year's Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC2011) will be held on the 23rd-24th of July at the University of Western Australia. MSA is very pleased to announce that the keynote speakers will be Dr Vadim Gushin & Dr Chris McKay.

Dr Vadim Gushin - Lead Researcher, Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Ministry of Health, Moscow, Russia - Dr Gushin is the Principal Investigator of the MARS 500 experiment being held by the European Space Agency and the Russian Space Agency to study the factors of long duration Human space flight to Mars and return. Dr Gushin will dicuss the findings from the intitial 125 day mission and the 520 day mission.

Dr Chris McKay - Space Science and Astrobiology at NASA Ames Research Center. Dr McKay received his Ph.D. in AstroGeophysics from the University of Colorado in 1982. His research interest currently focuses on the evolution of the solar system and the origin of life. He is also actively involved in planning for future Mars missions including human settlements. Dr McKay has also been involved with polar research since 1980, traveling to the Antarctic dry valleys and more recently to the Siberian and Canadian Arctic to conduct research in these Mars-like environments.

Aussies Join MDRS Crew 104
MSA Directors David Willson and Dr Jonathan Clarke are currently participating in the 104th Crew rotation at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah. The seven person crew comprises Dr Carol Stoker (mission leader), Dr Jonathan Clarke, David Willson, Jhony Zavaleta, Sarah Thompson, Luisa Rodrigues and Julio Valdiva Silva. Crew 104's objectives are to test an automated drilling system, and a manually operated "backpackable" drill system, using them to collect scientific drill cores in the context of a human exploration mission scenario, and to extend and infill geological and biological data collected during crews 83 and 92 to MDRS last season.

Read more including daily mission reports here.

MSA Calls upon Australian Youth for Inspiration
In the lead up to the NASA Spaceward Bound expedition to the Pilbara (10th-21st of July) and the Australian Mars Exploration Conference (23rd & 24th of July), Mars Society Australia is calling upon Australian students for their creativity and scientific expertise. A range of competitions for all ages of students from all states are now available. So if you have a flair for space exploration, inspirational thoughts about Mars base designs, ideas about future off-world colonies, concepts for sustainable energy management or simply how can we survive a future long-term space mission-then here is your chance. For further details about these competitions including entry guidelines and closing dates, click here to download an information sheet about the Mars base and expedition patch competitions and here for the essay writing competition.

MSA recognises the support of the Gravity Discovery Centre, Gingin Observatory and Scitech in assisting with making these student initiatives a success through generous prize sponsorship and continuing commitment to human space exploration.

MSA Invites Teachers to Attend Spaceward Bound Australia’s 2011 Pilbara Expedition
The Mars Society Australia offers Science teachers and graduate students an opportunity to join with NASA and MSA scientists on a field expedition to the Pilbara. Running between the 8th and 24th of July 2011, (during school holidays) it will involve participants examining fossil sites recording the early emergence of life of Earth, and also areas of tourist interest for the “Dawn Of Life Trail” near Marble Bar. Participants will also take part in the 11th Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC2011) at the University of Western Australia at the end of the expedition. The cost per person will be between $1800 and $2200, includes camping equipment, fully catered expedition and transport from the start to the end of the expedition. These costs also include the registration fee for AMEC2011. Full details of these items will be available by end of May. These activities may be used for professional learning renewal for their college or teacher registration with listing the 40 hours of professional learning for SBA and 12 hours for AMEC.

Fill out the online application form to apply.

AMEC2011 Registrations and Call for Papers is Now Open
Presentations at the 11th Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC2011), a 2 day event from the 23rd to 24th July, at the University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, will cover comparisons of environments for the dawn of life on Earth and comparing with the possibility of life on the red Planet, Mars. Written submissions from teachers, scientists, engineers, social theorists, managers, writers and artists are welcomed. Full papers will be reviewed and published in accordance with the DEEWR guidelines. The theme for AMEC2011 is Environments for the Dawn of Life on Mars and Earth.

Find out more at the AMEC2011 homepage.

Mars or Bust ... Well Mojave for Starters!
Dr Paula Mills has recently received an opportunity of a lifetime. Paula is the latest in a growing group of Australian Science Teachers who have been selected to attend a NASA Spaceward Bound expedition. She will be participating in this event in the Mojave Desert from the 17th to the 21st of April. Paula is currently the Science Curriculum Leader at Prince Alfred College in Adelaide, South Australia and brings over 10 years of secondary and tertiary science classroom experience, currently teaching Physics, Chemistry and Junior Science.

Read more here.

Mars Discussions at the WA Science & Engineering Summer School
Two of our Board of Directors, Mark Gargano and Dr Graham Mann presented the key note session on Thursday 20th January to the 2011 WA Science & Engineering Summer School, an event hosted by the Science Faculties at Murdoch University in Western Australia.

Read more here.

Australian Teacher Opportunity for Spaceward Bound Mojave 2011
If you are a Secondary School Teacher with an interest in earth, planetary and space science, then the Spaceward Bound Mojave 2011 expedition might be just the professional learning for you. NASA Spaceward Bound have once again extended this fantastic opportunity to Australian teachers and one lucky person in 2011 will gain an experience of a lifetime working with scientists, engineers and educators in the Mojave Desert.

Read more and download an application form here.

APRSAF to be Held in Melbourne
In November 2010, the Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) will be held in Melbourne. This event will be co-hosted by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and promotes collaboration between the regions space agencies. To support this objective, and promote awareness of the benefits of space technology, the APRSAF Space Education and Awareness Working Group has established a poster design competition for students aged 8 to 11 years, a Water Rocket Event for students aged 12 to 16 years, and an Educators Workshop to be held in association with the Water Rocket Event.

Read more here.

Science & Science Fiction Trivia Night in Canberra
The Mars Society Australia (MSA) supported by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) presents their annual Science and Science Fiction Trivia Night on Friday 27th August at 6pm at the Australian National University. For more details download a flyer for this event here.

National Space Camp Woomera
If you are a space science focused Year 11 student, there is an opportunity to apply for a position on the upcoming National Space Camp Woomera. This is an annual 5-day residential conference for students from all around Australia and is organized by the Centre for Australian Space Education (CASE) with sponsorship from the Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith Fund and this year occurs from Thursday 30th of September to Monday 4th of October. The programme includes lectures, tours, workshops and excursions to museums, universities, observatories and viewing a sounding rocket launch by the Australian Space Research Institute at Woomera. This event is open to 40 Year 11 students nationally and positions are highly sort after.

For additional details check their website at; To apply, download an application form and submit the completed document by Wednesday 18th of August.

AMEC2010 Program Available - Register Now!
The program for the 10th Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC2010) is now available on the AMEC homepage. With only five days until the conference, we warmly invite any researchers or members of the general public to join us for a stimulating weekend of presentations. The conference will include a free public lecture on Friday evening by Dr Jennifer Heldmann and Dr Adrian Brown of NASA Ames Research Centre, then a two-day program of presentations over Saturday and Sunday, including a tour of the VSSEC Mars Chamber (shown above left) and a conference banquet on Saturday night at Young and Jackson's Hotel.

Help us celebrate our 10th AMEC by registering now!

MSA AGM to be held at VSSEC
Members are advised that the Annual General Meeting of the Mars Society Australia, Inc. will be held at the start of AMEC on Friday 9th July between 5.00pm and 6pm at VSSEC before the evening's public lectures. All financial members welcome, and non-financial ones if they join/re-join at the door.

For full details read the official notice here.

AMEC2010 to Open With Free Public Lecture
Members of the public and the research community are invited to attend the tenth Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC2010), which is being held from 9-11 July at the Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC), Strathmore Secondary College, Melbourne. The curtain-raiser for AMEC2010: Living and Working on the Martian Frontier is a free public lecture delivered by NASA scientists Dr Jennifer Heldmann and Dr Adrian Brown at VSSEC at 6.30pm, Friday 9 July. Drs Brown and Heldmann, from NASA’s Ames Research Centre, contributed to recent water-seeking missions on the Moon and on Mars.

Read the full media release.

Spaceward Bound 2010 Mojave Report Now Available
Click images to enlarge.
Opportunities for teachers to participate in authentic scientific discovery are few and far between. Mars Society Australia with strong links with the NASA Spaceward Bound Project advertised and selected three science educators from Australia to work with world-renowned planetary scientists in the Mojave Desert in late March 2010. The Spaceward Bound project provides vital opportunities for teachers to participate in the exploration of scientifically interesting activities, in remote and extreme environments on Earth, as analogs for human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Read the full expedition report (pdf).

New Australian Mars Book
Guy Murphy, MSA director and former president and vice president, has a new book coming out shortly - Mars: A Survival Guide. It is being published by the ABC and Harper-Collins and there will be book signings and related events at AMEC2010 in July. The publication is a general introduction to living on Mars. You can read more and order your copy here.

NASA Spaceward Bound Namibia Report
The investigative aim of Spaceward Bound Namibia was to examine hypolith growth patterns. The location of this expedition was Gobabeb Training & Research Centre approximately 100 km east from the Namibian Coast, from the 18th to the 25th of April. A fantastic remote desert location, characterized by desert fogs and barchan dunes, almost distracting from the science. The Centre is a joint venture between the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) and the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), with a large array of ongoing desert studies being conducted there, NASA Spaceward Bound just being the latest. The Science Team was lead once again by Dr Chris McKay from the NASA Ames Research Center and at a local level by Professor Donald Cowan and his team from the University of the Western Cape, in South Africa.

Read the full report by MSA Education Director Mark Gargano here.

View the photo gallery.

AMEC2010 Registration Now Open
Registration for AMEC2010 is now open. To be held over the weekend of the 9th-11th July, the conference will feature exciting presentations on a range of Mars related topics by local and overseas speakers. You can register for the conference and the conference banquet at Young and Jackson's Hotel by either using a secure online form or downloading a printable postal application form (pdf).

Find out more at the AMEC2010 homepage and register today!

Aussie Teachers Join NASA Namibian Desert Expedition
Aussie Teachers Join NASA Namibian Desert Expedition Australian science teacher Mark Gargano will be participating in a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Spaceward Bound expedition to Namibia later this month, between the 18th and 26th of April. Mr Gargano, Science Coordinator at St Joseph’s School in Western Australia and Education Director of Mars Society Australia, will be a part of the expedition's science and education team. The expedition will be focussing on geological formations, desert microbial life and examining the conditions for life in extreme locations. The field work and analysis will be conducted at Gobabeb Training and Research Station, around 120 km inland from the west coast of Africa and is being lead by a range of scientists and engineers who are actively engaged in current planetary research and upcoming robotic missions to Mars.

Read the full media release.

Spaceward Bound 2009 Report Now Available
The full report for the Spaceward Bound 2009 (SBA2009) Expedition has now been released. The Mars Society Australia undertook the expedition in collaboration with the 'NASA Spaceward Bound' Program in July 2009, traveling to locations including Arkaroola, Marree and Reedy Springs in the South Australian desert. The theme of the expedition was 'The evolution of life in our solar system'. Twenty seven planetary scientists, geologists, teachers and engineers from the US and Australia participated in the expedition.

Download the report here.

MSA Vice-President Participates in MDRS Crew 92
Seven people, five nations, one crew. This sums up the experience of MDRS Crew 92 over the two weeks from March 6th-20th 2010. Lead by MSA Vice President and research director Dr Jonathan Clarke Crew 92 consisted of Dr Katy Hurlbert (NASA Johnson Space Center) in week one, Dr Carol Stoker (NASA Ames Research Center) in week 2, along with Line Drube (Geophysicist and Astrophysicist from the University of Copenhagen) and three French Air Force Second year cadets - Marie Mikolajczak Human Factors and Safety Officer), Nicolas le Tallec (Crew Engineer, and the Executive Office Lindsay Biset-Bentchikou.

Read more in Jonathan Clarke's mission report (pdf). View the photo gallery here.

MSA Celebrates Mars Day
The Mars Society Australia celebrates this year's Mars Day, the 15th of March. Traditionally known as the Ides of March, the 15th of March was commemorated in the Roman calendar in honour of Mars, the God of War. The month of March was its named after Mars. MSA encourages the celebration of Mars Day as a way of promoting awareness of Mars as a frontier of exploration.

Read more about the history of the Ides of March on Wikipedia.

AMEC2010 Call for Papers Now Open
The Mars Society Australia is pleased to announce that the call for papers for the 10th Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC2010) is now open. Please help pass on the word to interested colleagues, students and friends. The theme for this year's conference will be 'Living and Working on the Martian Frontier'.

Found out more about the conference and how to submit a paper on the AMEC2010 homepage.

NASA Spaceward Bound Mojave Teachers Selected
The selection process for the Australian Teachers to attend Spaceward Bound Mojave 2010 has recently been finalised. MSA are please to announce that 3 science teachers will have the opportunity of a lifetime to participate in the Mojave expedition, which is scheduled to run between the 28th of March and the 2nd of April. The three teachers are; Jane Hall-Dadson, Head of Science at Exeter High School in Tasmania, Dr Kenneth Silburn, Head Science Teacher at Casula High School in NSW and Danielle Shean, Lead Educator from the Victorian Space Science Education Centre.

Read more here.

VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize Category Winners Announced
Four Australian undergraduate students have been shortlisted for the VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize, and the opportunity to spend 10 weeks working with a NASA scientist or engineer as part of the NASA Academy Program in 2010. These programs are normally only available to US citizens, and will be the first time an Australian student is offered this exciting and prestigious opportunity. This competition will help build the skills needed by the emerging Australian Space Industry, which supports the goals of the Australian Government’s Australian Space Science Program announced in the last budget. All students’ submissions were of a very high standard, demonstrating the innovative research being conducted in Australian universities.

The winning students were Elizabeth Blaber (University of New South Wales), Aaron Podmore (University of New South Wales), Andrew Langendam (Monash University) and Stuart Mead (University of Southern Queensland). Read the full media release.

WA Science & Engineering Summer School
Mark Gargano, MSA Education Director, presented his keynote presentation at the 2010 Western Australian Science & Engineering Summer School on the 20th of January. The Summer School was hosted by Murdoch University and aimed to give the 59 attending Year 11 and 12 students a chance to see and experience science, mathematics and engineering in action; to learn from and to work with some of Australia's leading researchers; to explore challenging career paths and experience what life as a tertiary student might be like.

Read more here.

Spaceward Bound Mojave 2010
If you are a Secondary School Educator with an interest in earth, planetary and space science, then the Spaceward Bound Mojave 2010 expedition might be just the thing for you.

To be held in the Californian Mojave Desert from March 28th to April, Spaceward Bound Mojave 2010 is a teacher development program aimed at helping educationalists find exciting new ways to teach science. Participants can expect a week of high quality professional development. Areas that are intended examined in this program are desert soils and microbiology, geomicrobiology, astrobiology, hypolithic algae, remote sensing and engineering. It is envisaged that Australian participants will fly into Los Angeles and will depart from San Francisco, visiting other sites of interest to space enthusiasts along the way. You will have an opportunity to spend time working in the field with leading planetary scientists in disciplines including geology and astrobiology.

If this sounds like the thing for you, then fill in and submit an application form here.

'Planetary Geology for Beginners' on 11th November
Fascinated by the latest images from Mars? Curious about how impact craters have shaped the Moon? Want to know how the rocky bodies in the Solar System formed? Always wanted to see a meteorite up close? Join Dr. Jonathan Clarke for a FREE introductory course on planetary geology that will cover the different processes that resulted in the formation and current state of the Moon, Mars and other rocky bodies in our Solar System. To be held in Canberra, the course will also include hands on activities in Geoscience Australia’s Education Centre and the chance to examine various geological specimens including several meteorites.

Download a course information sheet here for further details.

9th European Mars Society Convention
Find out more at the Italian Mars Society's website and download a conference flyer.

Australians Supporting 2009 FMARS Field Season
Volunteers from the Mars Society Australia’s Sydney branch have been selected to support this year’s Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) expedition by running the Pacific-based Mission Support Centre. FMARS is an annual research expedition conducted at a research station located at Devon Island near the North Pole. The peer reviewed research conducted at Devon Island, a Mars-like ‘analogue’ environment, is geared towards learning how humans will live and work on Mars, and has been visited by scientists and engineers from around the world since it was first constructed in 2000. Australia’s contribution to this expedition follows in the tradition of assisting international space-related projects and makes this valuable research possible.

Read more here.

Dr Chris McKay to Open AMEC2009 Tonight with Free Public Lecture
One of the world's leading planetary scientists Dr Chris McKay of NASA Ames will open this year's Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC2009) tonight (Friday 17th July) with a free public lecture. Titled 'Results of the Phoenix Mission to Mars and Analog sites on Earth', he will report on the findings of NASA's recent Phoenix Mission. The talk will commence at 7.30pm at the Centenary Building, Level 3 - Room 16 (C3-16), University of South Australia, City East Campus, (Corner North Terrace and Frome Roads, Adelaide. (Download a pdf map).

AMEC registration will be possible on the morning of Saturday the 18th and Sunday the 19th if you have not had time to book ahead. Read more here.

Spaceward Bound 2009 Expedition Underway
The Spaceward Bound 2009 Expedition is now well underway, with the team currently spending the night at Marree after three days at Arkaroola Resort. The expedition is proving to be a intensely valuable unique experience for both the participating researchers and educators alike. You can read more on the expedition website, where daily reports and photos are being posted (internet access permitting). Leave your questions and comments on the expedition messageboard.

'News From the Field' SBA2009 Web Page Launched
A 'News From the Field' web page for the Spaceward Bound Australia 2009 expedition is now online at More information about the expedition (including a special media section) will be added shortly. The expedition will depart next week on Thursday 9th July. Once the expedition is underway, the page will feature daily updates of reports and photographs, documenting the journey from out in the field. The page will compliment NASA's existing Spaceward Bound Program Homepage.

Spread the word and the link!

Dr Jim Bell to Give Free Public Mars Lecture 10th July
Dr Jim Bell, International President of the Planetary Society and science team member of many recent NASA planetary missions including the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunuity, will be giving a free public lecture this coming Friday 10th, July, titled "Mars Exploration Rovers: Overview of Geologic, Geochemical, and Mineralogic Results". It will start at 4pm in the Fritz Loewe Theatre, at the Department of Earth Sciences, at the University of Melbourne. (2nd floor of the McCoy building, corner Swanston and Elgin Streets, Carlton. Admission is free.)

Read an abstract of the lecture and Dr Bell's bio here.

AMEC2009 - Call for Abstracts Reminder
The 9th Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC2009) will be held in Adelaide over the weekend of 17th - 19th July, 2009. Presentations over this exciting two-day event will cover a range of issues concerned with forging, nurturing and developing the pioneering culture and methods required to explore Mars. The call for abstracts for the conference will be open until 10th June, with notification of review results on 15th June. MSA welcomes abstract submissions from all interested parties.

Read more here.

CSIRO to Sponsor Spaceward Bound Australia 2009
The Mars Society Australia is delighted to announce that Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) will be a major sponsor of the Spaceward Bound Australia 2009 (SBA2009) Expedition. To be held in the South Australian Desert over 9th-16th July, SBA2009 will be a unique opportunity for Australian school teachers to work with NASA and MSA scientists in the field, learning to use the space sciences to bring new teaching methods to their students. Mars Society Australia President Mr David Cooper thanks the CSIRO for its generous support. "The CSIRO has shown great vision in supporting a program that will allow leading world class planetary scientists to share their expertise with the Australian educational community".

Dr Pascal Lee's Australian Lecture Tour
Dr Pascal Lee will be presenting a series of public lectures in various Australian capital cities between 25th May and 1st June. Dr Lee is Chairman of the Mars Institute, a planetary scientist with the SETI Institute, and the Director of the Haughton-Mars Project at NASA Ames Research Center. He has worked extensively in the Arctic and Antarctica, viewed as “analogs” for the Moon and Mars. His itinerary will take him to Sydney (25th May), Adelaide (26th May), Brisbane (28th May), Canberra (29th May) and Melbourne (1st June).

Find out more by downloading an information sheet here.

Australian Teacher Delegates for Spaceward Bound Australia Selected
MSA would like to congratulate and welcome the 5 Australian educators who have been selected and have accepted to participate in Spaceward Bound Australia 2009. After receiving a large range of submissions from very highly qualified, experienced and motivated teachers from all over Australia late last year, and a lengthy review process, the successful teacher candidates were recently informed about their selection.

Looking forward to the Spaceward Bound Australia 2009 expedition from Tasmania are Joanne Berriman, Head of Science at Oatlands District High School, Jane Dobson from Claremont College and Liz Ryan from Campania District High School. Joining these individuals, from New South Wales is Nicolette Burraston from the Armidale School and from Queensland Keith Treschman who is on the academic staff at Brisbane Girls Grammar School.

Read more here.

Planetary Geology for Beginners
Fascinated by the latest images from Mars? Curious about how impact craters have shaped the Moon? Want to know how the rocky bodies in the Solar System formed? Always wanted to see a meteorite up close? Join Dr. Jonathan Clarke for a FREE introductory course on planetary geology on 18 November that will cover the different processes that resulted in the formation and current state of the Moon, Mars and other rocky bodies in our Solar System. The course will also include hands on activities in Geoscience Australia’s Education Centre and the chance to examine various geological specimens including several meteorites.

View some photos from this event in the image gallery.

Read more here.

Expressions of Interest Invited for Teacher Participation in Spaceward Bound 2009
The Mars Society Australia and the NASA based Spaceward Bound (SB) project is seeking expressions of interest from school teachers and scientists to take part in another expedition in 2009. This expedition will be an invaluable opportunity for Australia's school teachers to work with NASA and MSA scientists in the field, learning how to bring new teaching methods on Space Science to their students.

Find out more about the expedition and how to apply here.

Upcoming Canberra Seminar - Designing Bases For The Moon & Mars
Join Dr Jason Held of Saber Astronautics in Canberra on Tuesday 16th September for a technical seminar and learn about the how a ‘systems of systems’ approach can be applied to measuring the performance of lunar and Mars base designs. Dr Held will share the results of a recent space base design workshop and discuss how scenarios such as space weather events, power outages, structural breeches and life support system failures impact upon the design of bases for planetary exploration. FREE PIZZA will be provided prior to the seminar.

Read more here.

2008 AME Lavatubes Field Trip & Conference
The Association of Mars Explorers, the National Cave and Karst Research Institute, and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology invite you to visit the beautiful volcanic vistas of northwestern New Mexico, USA. This trip consists of 2 days of intensive investigation of all aspects of lavatubes on Earth with reference to their analogous relationships to the Moon and Mars, with in their presence & geology, detection methods, astrobiological significance and potential human utilization.

Read more here.

Spaceward Bound Australia Expedition Completed
The Spaceward Bound Australia 2008 expedition has been successfully completed. Thirteen people from the US, Europe, and Australia took part in this preliminary trip examining sites and facilities for next year’s full Spaceward bound expedition for Australian and US teachers and researchers. Notable participatnts included Dr Liza Coe, Deputy Chief of NASA Ames Education Division, and Artemis Westenburg, Director of International relations of the International Mare society Steering Committee. Sites visited included the historic launch sites at Woomera, the Mars analogue terrain at Arkaroola, artesian springs at gullies at Reedy Springs, the Beverley uranium mine, and various sites in the Flinders Ranges.

Read further reports here

SBA1 Departs after a Successful AMEC
The Spaceward Bound Australia One Expedition (SBA1) departed Adelaide this morning for a week long journey through the South Australian outback. Participants include international guests Dr Liza Coe of NASA, and Artemis Westenberg, President of the Mars Society Netherlands and Director of the Mars Society (US). The expedition follows the successful conclusion of the 8th Australian Mars Exloration Conference at the University of South Australia over the weekend. The program included a special report on the latest findings from the Phoenix lander from Chris McKay of NASA Ames (by telephone link).

This Weekend's AMEC Program Released - Register Now!
The full program and details of speakers for AMEC2008 have been released, and can be seen on the AMEC homepage. The exciting weekend of events begin with a public lecture by Professor Russell Boyce titled 'Australian Hypersonic Research and the Road to Mars' at 7.30pm next Friday evening, followed by drinks at the Federal Bar and Café at the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel. This leads on to a stimulating line-up of presentations by Australian and international speakers on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th of July, with a conference banquet at 7pm on the Saturday evening.

A media release and program are now available. Register now and help spread the word!

Arkaroola Wildlife Sanctuary Sponsors Door Prize at AMEC
You now have an extra reason to register for this year's AMEC. The Arkaroola Wildlife Sanctuary has generously donated a door prize for which all registrants will be eligible. It consists of two night's accommodation for two in the comfort of the Sanctuary's Mawson Lodge, PLUS one of the Sanctuary's famous 4WD Ridgetop Tours. This is a fabulous weekend away in one of South Australia's most spectacular natural reserves.

All the more reason to register now.

Professor Russell Boyce to Deliver AMEC Opening Public Lecture
This year's AMEC will commence with a public lecture at 7.30pm on the evening of Friday 4th of July by Professor Russell Boyce, titled 'Australian Hypersonic Research and the Road to Mars'. The lecture will provide a stimulating overview of hypersonics in general and Australian hypersonics in particular, including its heritage, hot topics, and future directions. There will be special reference to entry into the Martian atmosphere, and Space Tourism. Entry will be by gold coin donation, and tea and coffee will be served afterwards. It will be held in Room 16 (C3-16)at the School of Natural & Built Environments, University of South Australia, City East Campus, (Cnr North Terrace and Frome Rd, Adelaide.) See you there!

Professor Rob Morrison OAM Special Guest at AMEC2008

MSA is delighted to announce Professor Rob Morrison (above right) will be a special guest speaker at AMEC2008 in Adelaide. For 25 years Rob has been a familiar face of science on television, as presenter of The Curiosity Show for eighteen years and appearances on The New Inventors, Nexus, Science Magazine, and Radio National's Ockham's Razor. He has written thirty books on science and natural history. Rob recently helped establish SciWorld, a new science centre in Adelaide which runs exciting education programs and developed six regional science fairs and shows, including Adelaide's National Science Week. In the citation for his 2007 Australian Museum Eureka Prize Rob is described as a national treasure and a well-loved ambassador for science.

Find out more about the program and how to register here.

Victorian Branch Holds Winter Meeting
The Victorian branch recently held its first meeting for this winter at Southbank on 25th June. Those present included former MSA President Guy Murphy, who has just returned to Melbourne after living in the UK for several years. The pizza was great! All Victorian members are invited to the next gathering - keep checking your inbox for further details.

Spaceward Bound Australia Logo
The logo for the upcoming Spaceward Bound Australia expedition has now been released. It was designed by Adriana Spadaccini, an MSA member and Year 10 student at St Joseph's School at Northam in Western Australia as part of her digital media elective.

Read more about NASA's Spaceward Bound Program and the Spaceward Bound Australia expedition here.

Earth Sciences Mega-Conference a ‘Must Attend’ for Planetary Scientists
MSA members and others are invited to attend this year's Australian Earth Sciences Convention. To be held in Perth from 20-24 July 2008, the Convention is Australia’s premier geoscience conference and a major event on the international geosciences calendar. It is expected to attract more than 1000 Australian and international delegates and will feature more than 135 presenters and 450 papers. Mass extinctions on Earth, asteroid impacts, what 3.5 billion year old fossils can tell us about evolution, and exciting information being gathered by NASA’s current mission to Mars will be among a wide range of planetary science topics on offer at the mega-conference.

Download the full media release here.

Images from an Alien World
The pioneering Phoenix Mars Lander continues to send the first ever surface images from the plains of Vastitas Borealis. So far, its cameras have panned the local surroundings, checked the condition of the lander, and recorded the first excavations with the robotic arm.

Find out more as the mission enters its second week at the Phoenix Mars Mission Homepage.

Australian High School Teacher Achieves Space Dream
Mark Gargano, Science Coordinator from St Joseph’s School in Northam (WA) and Education Officer of Mars Society Australia, Inc and John Mitsinikos, Mathematics Coordinator from Strathmore Secondary College (Vic) have returned home as the first Australian high school teachers to participate in the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) Spaceward Bound (SB) program in the Mojave Desert. The aim of this program was to allow scientists to increase their knowledge about desert conditions and further their research in linked areas, while participating educators had the unique opportunity to assist with this research and develop an appreciation for field science and data gathering techniques.

Read the full media release here.

Phoenix Touches Down on Mars
A signal has been received from the Phoenix Lander from the surface of Mars, indicating the lander has survived the rought entry and descent phases, and is now standing on the frozen plains of Vastitas Borealis, in the Martian Arctic. Phoenix will investigate subsurface ice to see if past surface conditions have been favourable for microbial life. Further signals and the first surface images are expected over the coming days.

Read the latest news as the mission unfolds at the Phoenix Homepage.

Countdown Begins for Phoenix Landing
The countdown has begun for the landing of NASA's Phoenix Mars Mission this weekend. Scheduled to land at around 9.30am Eastern Australian time on the morning of Monday, 26th May, the craft will be the first to land on the Martian northern polar region.

Find out the latest mission news at the official Phoenix Mars Mission Homepage.

Spaceward Bound Australia Homepage Launched
Following the 8th Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC 2008) being held at the University of South Australia, in Adelaide, S.Aust. from the 4 - 6th of July, the MSA will be conducting Spaceward Bound Australia One (SBA1).

SBA1 will leave Adelaide on the 7th of July for an educational program taking in Woomera, Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary and Wilpena (Rawnsley Park) returning to the University of South Australia in Adelaide on Tuesday 15th of July. Leading the Expedition will be Professor Vic Gostin of the University of Adelaide, South Australia and MSA Education Officer Mr Mark Gargano, St Joseph's School, Northam, Western Australia.

High School Teachers and other educators with an interest in Space Science are invited to attend this 8 day Expedition. Find out more at the SBA1 homepage .

MSA Makes Submission to 2020 Summit
The Mars Society Australia has made a submission to the 2020 Summit, a meeting of national leaders and visionaries to be held in Canberra on the 19th & 20th of April. This is one of a series of policy submissions MSA has produced or is currently preparing.

Read the full text of the submission here.

AMEC2008 Registration Now Open - Catch Our Special Early Bird Rates!
Registration is now open for the 8th Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC2008), which will be held in Adelaide over the weekend of 4th-6th July, 2008. Special 'Early Bird' Registration Fees apply until 31st May - don't miss out.

Read more on the AMEC homepage and register here!

Australian High School Teachers to Participate in NASA Spaceward Bound Program
The first Australian high school teachers to participate in the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) Spaceward Bound (SB) program will be travelling to the Desert Studies Centre, a space-related research station of the California State University located near Zzyzx in the Mojave Desert, California, on 4-11 April. The Centre provides a Mars-like environment for research aimed at exploring and studying the Red Planet and associated planetary science and the program will be led by Dr Chris McKay, a planetary scientist within the Space Science Division of the NASA Ames Research Centre.

Read the full media release here.

AMEC2008 - Call for Papers Now Open!
The invitation is now open for the submission of papers for AMEC2008 on any subject connected to the exploration and settlement of Mars. Full papers will be reviewed and published in accordance with the DEST guidelines. The submission deadline for receiving full papers is 30th April, 2008, with notifications of acceptance to be given on 30th May, 2008.

Click here for further details.

Read more about the conference at the AMEC2008 Homepage.

Latest VSSEC Newsletter Reports on MSA/Spaceward Bound
The latest edition of the Victorian Space Science Education Centre's (VSSEC's) newsletter CAPCOM features a report on the planned Mars Society Australia/Spaceward Bound expedition to the Mojave Desert in California. Mathematics Co-ordinator, John Mitsinikos, from Strathmore Secondary College will represent VSSEC and join Mark Gargano, the Science Coordinator at St Joseph's School in Northam, Western Australia and Education Officer for MSA.

Click here to download the full publication.

Announcing the 8th Australian Mars Exploration Conference, AMEC 2008
Following the success of previous conferences, the Mars Society Australia will be holding its annual conference in Adelaide from 4 to 6 July at the University of South Australia's city east campus. The program is set to be as exciting as ever including a line-up of international and local speakers covering many areas. Put these dates in your diary and look out for more information in the coming weeks and months. Keep an eye on our website at for further announcements.

Opportunities for sponsorship open soon. Email to register your interest.

MSA Member Heads to the Snowy as Australia Day Ambassador
Twenty-four year old aerospace engineer Michael West is heading to Jindabyne and the surrounding areas this week as the Snowy River region?s Australia Day Ambassador for 2008. Thanks to the generous support of Woolworths, Michael will join more than 160 high achieving Australians who will be giving up their time to share their experiences and their national pride with communities across New South Wales on 26 January this year.

Read more here.

MarsOz Mission Now on YouTube

Report on ESA’s Young Engineers’ Satellite
Last week saw the launch of ESA’s Young Engineers’ Satellite (YES) 2 - a tethered re-entry mission that seeks to bring a 5kg payload back to Earth using a 30km piece of string! For the past five years, over 300 students and young graduates from around the world, including several RMIT affiliates, have worked on this project, sponsored primarily by the European Space Agency and managed by Delta-Utec SRC in the Netherlands. Former MSA member Andrew Hyslop has been involved in the project in the Netherlands, and reports on the project here.

MSA Celebrates National Science Week in Adelaide
Mars Society Australia is celebrating the 10th Anniversary of National Science Week. The Science Hub in the forecourt of the South Australian Museum is a hive of science activities and displays which is open to the public for free from 10am - 5pm, Saturday 18th August - Sunday 26th August. Our crew of Mars enthusiasts are available to talk with the public all day Saturday and Sunday. Come in and say hello.

Read more on the South Australian branch homepage.

MSA Signs With NASA Spaceward Bound Program
Today, Mars Society Australia President, David Cooper signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NASA Spaceward Bound program's Chief Investigator, Dr Chris McKay of Ames Research Centre, California. The purpose of this memorandum is to facilitate the training of Australian and US science teachers in the fundamentals of introducing space science and engineering into schools in both countries, and is supported by NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA HQ in Washington.

Read more here ...

AMEC 2007 Photo Gallery Now Online
Photographs from MSA's recent annual conference AMEC 2007 may be viewed here, in MSA's new online photo gallery. Held over the weekend of over the weekend of the 13th to 15th of July, the conference was an enjoyable exploration of new developments in Mars research in Australia and overseas.

It is intended to expand the photo galleries in future to make photographs from MSA's different events more readily available. The full collection of photo albums (as it grows), may be viewed by following the Photo Galleries link on the orange toolbar at left.

Less than 2 Weeks to AMEC 2007 - Register Now!
It is now less than 2 weeks until the seventh annual Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC 2007), opens at Trinity College, East Perth. Presentations over the weekend of the 13th to 15th of July will cover a range of issues concerned with forging, nurturing and developing the pioneering culture and methods required to explore Mars. The conference is designed to be of interest to both scientific specialists and the general public.

Find out more including how to register at the AMEC2007 homepage. Register now for this exciting event!

MSA Concerned at Closure of Australian Centre for Astrobiology
The MSA board has formally written to Professor Piper, the Vice-Chancellor of Macquarie University, expressing our disappointment and concern at this development and asking that it be reconsidered in the light of the significance of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology (ACA) and its unique role in Australian Space Science. We are especially concerned at the diminished opportunities the closure of ACA means for student and research choices, forcing Australian students and researchers to move overseas.

The closure was officially announced on the 5th June. Read more in this report in the Australian newspaper.

Global Space Exploration Strategy Document Released
Recognising that space exploration is a challenge more optimally done in collaboration, fourteen international space agencies have come together to develop a framework that will focus and guide their collaboration on future space exploration missions. The Global Exploration Strategy presents a vision for robotic and human space exploration, focusing on destinations within the solar system where we may one day live and work. It elaborates an action plan to share the strategies and efforts of individual nations so that all can achieve their exploration goals more effectively and safely. Participating agencies include Australia's CSIRO.

Read the full strategy document on the Canadian Space Agency's website here.

MSA Now Approved Research Institute with Deductible Gift Recipient Status
In August 2006, the CSIRO granted the Mars Society Australia, Inc. Approved Research Institute status. The MSA Research Institute led by Dr Jonathan Clarke, Vice-President of the MSA, also a member of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology and a member of the Federal Government's Steering Committee and Working Groups for the NCSS Decadal Plan for Space Science. Being so approved, the Australian Tax Office duly approved the MSA's application for Deductible Gift Recipient Status, which allows donors to clain 100% tax concession on all donations over $2.00 to the MSA. The Board of the MSA expects this will advantage our continuing efforts to provide ongoing funding for projects and operations.

MSA Member Michael West Involved in Canadian Phobos Mission
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is evaluating a range of small Mars mission concepts. MSA’s Michael West is on the Mars Institute's project team for one of the studies, the PRIME Mission to Phobos. You can read more about the PRIME mission here.

NASA Ties Help Australian Youth to Look Spaceward Bound
The next generation of space explorers are now reaping the benefits of a new NASA training program which is about to head to Australia, thanks to local efforts. According to David Cooper, President of the Mars Society Australia, agreement has been reached with organizers of NASA's innovative Spaceward Bound program to extend it to Australia. Spaceward Bound is an educational program organized at NASA's Ames Research Center in partnership with The Mars Society and funded by the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) at NASA Headquarters.

Read the full media release here.

Dr Charles Lineweaver Presents "The Origin of the Universe and Life"
In this talk held in Brisbane on Monday 19th March, astrobiologist and cosmologist Charles Lineweaver reviewed what we think we know about the origin of the universe and the origin of life. Where and when did the first stars and terrestrial planets form? Where is there liquid water in the universe? How old is life on Earth? Is life common in the universe? Dr Lineweaver gives pretty good answers to most of these questions and educated speculations about the origin of life on Earth, in our Galaxy and in the Universe.

Read more on the BrisScience website.

AMEC 2007 Call for Papers
The seventh annual Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC 2007), will be held in Perth over the weekend of the 13th to 15th of July at Trinity College, East Perth. Presentations over this two-day event will cover a range of issues concerned with forging, nurturing and developing the pioneering culture and methods required to explore Mars. MSA invites anyone interested in presenting at the conference to submit a paper to the review committee here. All papers submitted will be peer-reviewed in accordance with DEST guidelines for conference publications.

Find out more including how to register at the AMEC2007 homepage. Register now for this exciting event!

Aussie Students Help Select Landing Sites for Mars Science Lab
At this year’s AMEC (Australian Mars Exploration Conference) Marion Anderson (Monash University) presented a talk on how she and her students are involved in selecting possible landing sites for MSL (Mars Science Laboratory). This research is being carried out in collaboration with NASA. Marion and her students identified the top twelve possible sites for landing. The sites must conform to a number of criteria, such as having a flat circular area with a diameter of at least 10 km for MSL to land on. Ideally the site would be located between 60 degrees N and 60 degrees S.

Read more here.

AMEC 2006 Report
AMEC 2006 was held over the weekend of October 13th–15th at the Victorian Space Science and Education Centre (VSSEC). Around fifty delegates attended as well as speakers from all around Australia. The theme was “Establishing Base Camp: Science, Methods and Technologies to support the Human Exploration of Mars.”

Read a full conference report here.

Update on ARCHIMEDES Project
The German Mars Society is undertaking a project to design and hopefully deploy a Mars balloon probe called ARCHIMEDES. During the last 4 months, the project team in Munich and elsewhere has been busy with drafting mission requirements, testing schedules and development programs that will concern all major parts of ARCHIMEDES. This work included mainly the adaptation of the three major development programs CLEOPATRA (operations and flight testing), ARCHIMATTER (material research) and ARCHYFLOW (hypersonic flight and low speed descent analysis program) to the new testing opportunities on parablic flights, sounding rockets and ground facilities. It also included a thorough review of the major development and testing strategy.

Read the full media release.

Mars Polar Base Design Study Now Available
A project to design a human base for the Martian North Pole, Project Boreas, has now been released. Continuing in the long line of visionary BIS projects, Project Boreas summarises the three year deliberations of a group of BIS members and non-members on the design of a station for the Martian Geographic North Pole. The volume describes the base design, science and exploration objectives, communications, history of Mars polar studies, human factors studies, life support and many other factors neccesary for the explorers to spend nearly two Martian years at the Martian pole.

Read more and find out how to order here.

Starchaser Gears-up for Space Tourism
September 15th: Starchaser Industries, long-time friend and supporter of the Mars Society in the UK and Australia, and key backer of the Society's Mars Analogue Research Station programme have announced a major new initiative to extend their space tourism activities through the development of a new spaceplane that will offer up to 6 passengers a 40-minute sub-orbital flight into space. Operating alongside the company's already-in-development 3-person Thunderstar capsule, the space plane will allow Starchaser to provide a comprehensive range of space tourism flight options, supported by training and medical management. Flights are expected to cost some £98,000 (143,600 Euros).

Read more here.

MSA Rocket Engine - First Test Firing Successful
MSA is pleased to announce a major achievement by David Willson, MSA member and director, and also manager of the Mars-Oz project, in his hobby of scratch building rocket engines. Along with several work colleagues, David successfully test fired the rocket engine four times at a location 30 minutes drive from Hobart in Tasmania. Some 15 people came to the event and it was filmed as part of a documentary by MSA Western Australian member and film maker, Chris Dickinson. A paper on David's rocket engine will be a feature at AMEC 2006 in October at VSSEC.

Read the full story here and view some more images ( 1, 2, 3 & 4)

AMEC 2006 Registration Now Open
Registration is now open for the sixth annual Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC 2006), to be held in Melbourne in October of this year at the Victoria Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC). You may register online using our secure registration form, or by downloading and faxing in a registration form (pdf).

Find out more at the AMEC2006 homepage and register now for this exciting event.

New Book 'Mars Analogue Research' now Available
Univelt Publishers has just released 'Mars Analogue Research' as volume 111 of the American Astronautical Society's science and technology series . The book contains a large collection of papers on Mars analog research, including expeditions, field science, human factors, education and outreach, engineering, and cultural studies. Many of the papers feature work done by MSA and its affiliates overseas.

MSA members can order their copies from the MSA shop. Otherwise copies can be ordered online through the publisher's web site at

Public Lecture on MarsOz at the VSSEC
A public lecture on the Mars Society Australias MarsOz mission architecture and concept vehicle designs will be given by MSA Vice-President Dr Jonathan Clarke at the Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC) at 6pm on 5th July, 2005. Booking is essential.

For more details, download a lecture flyer here (pdf).

AMEC 2006 Call for Papers
Mars Society Australia is pleased to announce that the call for papers for the sixth Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC 2006) is now open. This years theme - 'Establishing Base Camp: Science, Methods and Technologies to Support the Human Exploration of Mars' - covers the plethora of issues connected to development of a Mars base to support future human exploration, such as selecting a site, building a base, logistics, exploration radii, setting up a research program, communication and crew safety.

For more details, visit the AMEC2006 homepage.

MSA Directors Present Mars Exploration to WA Country School
MSA President David Cooper and Starchaser MARSupial Rover Project Manager and Director, Dr Graham Mann, recently visited St Joseph's School in the Town of Northam, in the wheat-belt of Western Australia. They made presentation about Mars Exploration to the school assembly and the Year 10 Space Science Group (see picture.) MSA Member Mark Gargano is the Science Coordinator at St Joseph's and is very active at the student level in promoting both the Mars Society and space science in general. Nine students from St Joseph's School have joined the MSA as student members and will be helping with talks on their projects at the Centre for Planetary and Space Studies, other promotional activities and the first of the MARSupial Trax test programs. They are currently designing mission patches for Trax-1. At the end of the exercise, the students presented us with Certificates of Appreciation signed by Mark, the Head Girl, Georgia Bowen and the rest of the students.

For more details of the CPSS programs, contact

Victorian Branch Celebrates Christmas
The Victorian branch recently held its Christmas meeting at the Royal Siam Restaurant in Kew. Those present included former MSA President Guy Murphy, who is currently visiting Australia from the UK.

MSA Welcomes Arkaroola Resort as New Corporate Member
The Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary and Resort has become a corporate member of Mars Society Australia. This is in recognition of their outstanding support for MSAs expeditions to the area, including Jarntimarra-1 and Expedition Two, and MSAs future research and education program. The Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary and Resort is situated in the northernmost Flinders Ranges in central South Australia, some 600km north of Adelaide and 130km east of the coal-mining town of Leigh Creek. The 610sq km wilderness sanctuary is operated by the Sprigg family and has advanced ecotourism accreditation for tourism featuring the geology, ecology, landscape and astronomical features of the area.

Read more here.

Roving the Red Planet Via Canberra
The 5th Australian Mars Exploration Conference will be held in Canberra this weekend, allowing locals and visitors to hear the latest news about Mars exploration, including findings from the surface of the Red Planet. The conference known as AMEC, is co-hosted this year by Mars Society Australia and the Australian National University's School of Psychology and gives national and international Mars 'experts' including scientists, engineers and specialists in human factors/psychology, a forum for networking and showcasing their latest research.

Read the full media release here.

Concrete Slab Poured For Rover Laboratory
The long awaited laboratory for the Starchaser Marsupial Manned Analog Rover has begun to be constructed. The concrete slab has been poured and it is expected the shed structure will be commenced this week. Photos will follow soon. For more details on the Starchaser Rover visit the Starchaser Marsupial homepage at

Professor Steve Squyres Keynote Speaker at AMEC 2005
MSA is delighted to announce that the keynote speaker for AMEC 2005 will be Professor Steve Squyres. A professor of astronomy at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, Mr Squyres is a principal investigator for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Missions. Spirit and Opportunity. Along with his work on MER, he is also a co-investigator on the 2003 Mars Express. and 2005 Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter missions, a member of the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer Flight Investigation Team for the Mars Odyssey mission, and a member of the imaging team for the Cassini to Saturn. He will be in Australia promoting his recently published book Roving Mars.

Find out more and register for the conference here.

AMEC 2005 Registrations now open
Registrations for the 5th Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC V) or AMEC 2005 are now open. Full details are to be found by following our Events-AMEC 2005 link in the menu to the left. This looks like an exciting event, hope to see you there - Dave Cooper (Il Presidente).

Get a free Polo Shirt at AMEC 2005
If you register for AMEC before the 30th of June, you will receive on arrival a FREE special Mars Society Australia polo shirt celebrating the conference. This is our 5th AMEC and this will be a special issue only available to attendees. For those that don't make the deadline, you can purchase a polo shirt at the venue for AU$ 35.00.

Starchaser To Unveil UK's Most Powerful Rocket Engine
Starchaser: commercial access to space

MSA sponsor, Starchaser Industries will unveil their new Churchill Mk3 liquid rocket engine at 10am on Wednesday 11th May at the University of Salford. Starchaser Industries are the primary sponsor for the Marsupial Manned Mars Analog Rover Project being built in Perth, Western Australia. This is the most powerful rocket engine built in Britain since the country ceased its space program some 30 years ago.

MSA/MSC Expedition Two Report goes to Canadian Space Agency
The Canadian Space Agency was one of the sponsors for Expedition Two, last August. A report on the 4 week exercise has been sent to the CSA. This report represents the efforts of Jon Clarke and Rocky Persuad, MSCanada and the AMEC 2004 crew, who successfully put together a large group of scientists and engineers working on putting a permanent human presence on Mars. This document may be modified from time to time.

Leonardo & Lisa Expeditions Underway
Two complementary Mars simulation projects have commenced at the Mar Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah to investigate the role of gender in an international Mars mission crew. Organised by alumni of the International Space University, the Leonardo project will be carried out by an international male team from April 15 to May 1, while the Mona Lisa project all-female crew will be in the MDRS from May 1 to 15 2005. Both crews will perform similar tasks in comparable conditions and their results will be put side by side. The expeditions follow on from research done on Expedition 1 and Expedition 2 relating to MSA's MarsSkin, and human factors projects. Two MSA members are participating, MarsSkin Project Manager James Waldie and engineer Natalie Cutler.

Read more about the Leonardo and Lisa Projects, and check daily mission reports.

MSA Board Welcomes New President and Vice-President
The board of the Mars Society Australia would like to welcome its new incoming President David Cooper. Based in Western Australia, David has served as MSA Vice-President since its incorporation in 2001, and is also the coordinator of the MS WA branch. Canberra based geologist and director Dr Jonathan Clarke has been elected the new Vice-President. Former President Guy Murphy has retired from the role after nearly 5 years as he will be spending time travelling and working overseas during 2005. He intends to remain involved in MSA actvities, and wishes to thank everyone for supporting MSA in its endeavours over the years.

AMEC2005 Call for Papers Now Open
AMEC V, the fifth Australian Mars Exploration Conference, will be held in Canberra on August 19-21, 2005. The conference will be in the Manning Clark Theatre complex and hosted by the Australian National Universitys School of Psychology. The theme, 'Roving the Red Planet' reflects the prime importance of mobility in the exploration of Mars, both now and in the future and MSAs 'Year of the Rover' focus. You are invited to prepare talks for the conference. Overall there will be six themes, you are asked to consider submitting within one of these:

Theme 1 - Technology
Theme 2 - Planetary science and astrobiology
Theme 3 - The human factor
Theme 4 - Analogue studies
Theme 5 - Education and outreach
Theme 6 - Policy and planning

Expressions of interest should be sent to

New MarsOz Base Design Report Now Available
Authored by David Willson and Jonathan Clarke, this newly released report consists of a feasibility study examining how modules the size and shape used in the MARS-OZ proposal are compatible with the technical requirements of an actual Mars mission. This report is in press with the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. Copies of the manuscript can be obtained from .

Expedition 2 Summary Report Now Available
A report authored by Jonathan Clarke, Rocky Persaud and Shannon Rupert-Robles summarising the results of Expedition 2 is now available online here (pdf format). You can read more about the expedition at the Expedition 2 Homepage

AMEC2004 a Success, Expedition 2 Completed
The 4th annual Australian Mars Exploration Conference was successfully held in Adelaide over the weekend of Saturday 31st July and Sunday 1 August. Hosted by the School of Natural and Built Environments at the University of South Australia, the conference featured local and international speakers presenting papers in a diverse range of Mars related disciplines.  For information about the program, visit the AMEC 2004 page.

Expedition 2, a joint research expedition between the Mars Society Australia, has now been completed.

Trinity College 'Spaced Out' By New Mars Research Laboratory
An initiative between Trinity College in East Perth and Mars Society Australia,  will see an innovative new Centre for Planetary and Space Studies set up at the East Perth school this year, bringing Mars research to the heart of the Western Australian capital.  Mars Society Australia’s Vice-President and Outreach Director, Mr David Cooper, believes that this Centre may well be the first space research laboratory to be established in a secondary education institution in Australia, and speaks enthusiastically about the goals of the new Centre.

Read the full media release.

Also check out the centre's new webpage and download an information leaflet, which includes a program of upcoming events.

NASA Rover Opportunity Lands on Mars
NASA's second robotic rover lander Opportunity has safely landed on the surface of Mars at Meridiani Planum. Read the latest news as it unfolds at NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission Homepage.

Call for Australian Involvement in New U.S. Space Program
In a speech to NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C., U.S. President George W. Bush has announced an inspiring new course for human space exploration through the 21st century. As he notes, in the past 30 years, human beings have not set foot on any other world, nor ventured farther upward into space than 386 miles. This is about to change. Mars Society Australia applauds this bold vision and calls on the Australian Government to do what it can to support the United States in achieving this ambitious goal, which has enormous ramifications for mankind.

Read the full media release here

NASA Rover Spirit Lands on Mars
NASA's Deep Space Network has received its first images from the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, shortly after it descended to the surface at around 3.35pm Eastern Australian time. Once deployed, it is planned that the rover will undertake a 90 day mission of scientific investigations around the landing site in Gusev Crater. Australia will be contributing to the mission by providing communications through the Deep Space Network's Canberra facility.

Read the latest news as it unfolds at NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission Homepage.

Australia Joins the Search for Beagle 2
As Mars Express makes history as the first European spacecraft to successfully enter Martian orbit, the search continues for the Beagle 2 lander, which entered the Martian atmosphere on the afternoon of Christmas Day Australian time. Australia is heavily involved strategies to establish contact with the craft. NASA's orbiter Mars Odyessy is sending back search results via NASA's Deep Space Network, which includes the Tidbinbilla Radio Telescope outside Canberra. From 4th January, the European Space Agency's radio telescope at New Norcia in Western Australia will be relaying telemetry from Mars Express, as it commences searching for a signal. Meanwhile, Sydney University has been asked to search using its radio telescope (read more here).

Read the latest news on the status of the Beagle 2 at

Anticipating Christmas on the Red Planet
The European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft is about to say farewell to the Beagle 2 lander on 19 December, as the latter is released and heads off to the surface of Mars. Once separated from Mars Express, Beagle 2 becomes a spacecraft in its own right for the last five days of its momentous journey to study some of the mysteries of the Red Planet.

Read more here.

AMEC 2004 - Call for Papers
The fourth annual Australian Mars Exploration Conference, AMEC2004, will be held this year in Adelaide over the weekend of July 30th-August 1st, 2004. The conference will explore the latest results from local and international researchers in one of the most exciting years in Mars exploration yet.

We are looking for papers from a variety of disciplines, including geology, astrobiology, psychology/human factors, biomedicine, engineering and robotics. Papers should focus on aspects of research that have direct or potential application to a future human mission to Mars. Information about how to submit a paper (including an abstract submission form) may be found here.

More conference details to be posted shortly.

AMEC 2002 Proceedings Online
The proceedings of the 2nd Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC 2002) are now available online. These include abstracts and papers from over 24 presentations, on diverse topics including geology, habitat design, space suit technology, surface rovers and communications. Audio recordings of the conference presentations are also now available online by tuning in to Radio Free Mars, where you can hear the keynote address by Apollo astronaut Dr Harrison Schmitt.

New Rover Website Launched
A new look website for the Starchaser Marsupial Rover has just been launched at The website includes a news page where you read project progress reports and view the lastest photographs posted by project manager Dr Graham Mann. More information is to be added to the site over coming weeks.

AMEC 2003 a Success

The third Australian Mars Exploration Conference was held at Trinity College, East Perth last weekend. It featured an exciting program running over the full weekend, with presentations on topics ranging from space suit technology, space architecture and geology, to data collection technology and the psychological issues associated with deep space missions. The keynote speaker was Dr Vadim Gushin - Lead Researcher, Institute of Bio-Medical Problems - Ministry of Health, Moscow.

More reports to be posted soon.

Notification of Annual General Meeting
All MSA Financial Members: In accordance with our Articles of Association, the time has come to notify members of the Annual General Meeting of the Mars Society Australia Inc, which will be held on Friday 22 August 2003, 2pm, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 54 Terrace Road, Perth.

Click here for further details.

3 Down, 1 to Go: Mars Launch Countdown Begins
A flurry of missions to Mars, to explore the surface and sub-surface of the Red Planet, has commenced with the successful launch of the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft, and the NASA rover 'Spirit' to be shortly followed by a second rover 'Opportunity'.. These missions have the potential to reveal whether life exists or existed on Mars, and will provide an unprecedented range of new data about the planet.

Click here to download MSA's pre-launch media release.

Graham Mann talks on Mars analog exploration in Australia
At Astrofest in Perth earlier this year, Dr Graham Mann, Project Manager of the MSA's Starchaser Marsupial Rover gave a public talk on the MSA's activities in Australia. To experience this audiovisual presentation, you will need Microsoft PowerPoint and an MP3 player, and then click on the links below together: Powerpoint and MP3 audio.

Conferences to Watch For
Over the following months Australia will be hosting a diverse range of conferences relating to space and planetary sciences.

Click here for a full conference calendar.

Conference Update
AMEC 2003
August 22-24
Perth, Western Australia

Don’t forget to register for AMEC 2003 and take advantage of the earlybird registration. Click here to find out more, including a Call for Papers and secure Online Registration. AMEC is the annual Mars Society conference and will bring together researchers, academics and Mars enthusiasts from around the country and internationally, to find out the latest developments on human Mars exploration and Mars analogue research.

Extension of Deadline for AMEC 2003 Papers
The Convener of the 3rd Australian Mars Exploration Conference announced an extended deadline for papers presented for this years conference. The new deadline is the 30th of June 2003. Click here to find out more.

Successful Joint Canadian-Australian Expedition at MDRS Now Completed
Six Australians from Mars Society Australia – James Waldie, Dr Jonathan Clarke, Guy Murphy, Jennifer Laing, Graham Mann and Dr Steve Dawson , have spent time at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) (MDRS) in Utah for Expedition One - a month long research mission in conjunction with the Mars Society of Canada.

You can read more, view photographs and follow the progress of the Crew 14 mission until completion by checking the reports at the Mars Desert Research Station website at Read the press release and see the crew profiles.

You can read the online diary of Australian crewmember Dr Jonathan Clarke here. The MarsSkin project team leader James Waldie has also posted an online report.

MSA NSW Seminar Series Begins in 2003
Beginning in March 2003 MSA NSW is proud to present a series of seminars by prominent speakers from a variety of fields on topics related to the scientific, engineering and social aspects of Mars exploration. See the NSW Branch home page for details.

AMEC 2003 - Call for Papers and Registrations Open
This year, the Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC 2003) is to be held at Trinity College in Perth, Western Australia. Full details including a Call For Papers and secure Online Registration are now available. Further details will be added as they come to hand, check back from time to time as this exciting event unfolds.

Yakka Supports Project MarsSkin
Yakka Australia has generously agreed to supply coveralls for Australian members of Mars Society Australia to wear while participating in Expedition One at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah.

Expedition One is a month-long project, involving testing of equipment, processes and technology which could be used in Mars mission planning in the future. These coveralls will act as a dust layer in MarsSkin analogue suits which will be used when working in the South-Western desert, and can also be used in the Australian Outback.

Mars Society Australia thanks Yakka Australia for their support.

Join MSA Online
Memberships of MSA can now be filled out and paid for using our secure online form. It makes renewal a much easier process and you can buy a membership for a friend or relative as a gift. Support MSA's work and outreach effort by becoming a member or keeping your membership current. Members get lots of benefits, including preferential rates for the annual conference (AMEC), a regular newsletter and exclusive members email list.

Mars General Store Now Open For Business
Can't think what to get that Mars enthusiast for Christmas? Your worries are over! MSA's Mars General Store is stocked full of goodies and waiting to take your orders. The online store stocks dozens of items, including MSA polo shirts and baseball caps, best-selling books such 'The Case for Mars' and the new book 'On to Mars' by Mars Society founder Robert Zubrin, and videos like 'NASA: The Big Missions.' 'On to Mars', is hot off the press, and includes a segment on our Victorian Chapter Coordinator Felix Dance and his Halkyut Prize winning letter, as well as the inside story of the deployment of the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island.

Payment online through Mars General Store is safe and convenient and we accept all major credit cards.

If you have suggestions for additional items you would like to purchase through the store, send an email to the Outreach Director, Dave Cooper.

Aussie Astronaut Calls On Australian Involvement In Mars Exploration
Australian astronaut Dr. Andy Thomas opened the new facility at the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at Macquarie University in November with a powerful speech urging Australia to set up a national space agency and take an active part in space exploration activities. He pointed out that "Mars is the great exploration of the 21st century, but Australian kids will see no Australian role. This is not a healthy legacy to leave the next generation." A copy of his notes of the speech can be found at

Australian Palaeonlogist To Lead NASA Astrobiology Institute
Australian palaeontologist Dr. Bruce Runnegar has been selected as the next director of NASA's Astrobiology Institute (NAI). As director of the Institute, Runnegar will lead efforts to answer the three big questions central to astrobiology: How does life begin and evolve? Does life exist elsewhere? What is life's future on Earth and beyond? Some of the answers to these questions may be found by exploring Mars. Mars Society Australia wishes Dr. Runnegar well with his new appointment.

MarsOZ - Check Out the Latest Proposal
An addendum to the MarsOZ proposal document has been prepared by Project Manager Dr Jonathan Clarke, and is now available online. Jonathan has included updated information on systems, equipment and fitout of MARS-OZ, as well as some new plans and drawings, which are the first step towards building our own Mars analogue research facility in the Australian Outback. People with engineering, architectural or technical experience who are keen to assist with the project are encouraged to contact Jonathan with ideas and suggestions. Download the addendum document (pdf) here

Interested potential sponsors of the MarsOZ habitat should contact Jennifer Laing for further information, including a sponsorship kit.

Tune in to Radio Free Mars
Radio Free Mars is an hour long radio broadcast produced by The RFM broadcast covers the Planet Mars and all the news, issues, and views surrounding the Red Planet.

In the 1st Broadcast (commencing Oct 24 2002), James Burk, Editor-in-chief provides an overview of the Mars Odyssey mission and an analysis of some of the issues surrounding the available data and images. Also included, is an excerpt from Burk's radio interview with Mexican journalist Jamie Maussan regarding the red planet. Program runs 40 minutes without commercials and includes Dustin Green's Five Minute Mars newscast. It also features music from Holst's "The Nine Planets: Mars, Bringer of War" .

Read more and tune in by clicking here.

Starchaser Marsupial Rover: Stage 2 is Go
Project Marsupial, the MSA's analogue rover construction project, has received a giant boost with the news that Starchaser Industries, a UK aerospace firm, will fully fund Stage 2 of the innovative project. Starchaser has donated A$41,000 and secured naming rights to the rover, which will henceforth be called the Starchaser Marsupial Rover.

"Thanks to the farsighted and generous support of Starchaser Industries, we are go for Stage 2!" said an obviously delighted Graham Mann, the Fremantle based Manager of Project Marsupial. "Now we're in a position to speed up the construction schedule, and that's important if we're to get the rover out into the desert and under test before its debut at Operation Red Centre".

Read more by downloading the press release and visiting the Starchaser Marsupial Rover homepage.

Prototype MCP Analogue Suit Debuts at AMEC
The first prototype of the MarsSkin analogue Mechancial Counter Pressure (MCP) suit was presented at AMEC2002 by project manager James Waldie. The suit is intended to be used used in Mars analogue research projects undertaken in Australia and internationally, and includes a special helmet system being developed by students at the University of Sydney.

Read more at the MarsSkin homepage.

AMEC2002 An Outstanding Success
Over 130 delegates gathered at Sydney University over the weekend of July 12-14 for the largest Mars conference held in Australia, AMEC 2002 (the Second Australian Mars Exploration Conference). Highlights of the weekend included the opening address by former Apollo 17 astronaut Dr Harrison Schmitt, the first public display of the Australian MarsSkin analogue suit, and the announcement of the winner of the Undergraduate Prize, Yon Wui Ng.

More reports will be posted shortly.

Harrison Schmitt Touring Australia 7th-18th July
Apollo 17 astronaut and geologist Dr. Harrison Schmitt will be touring Australia between July 7th and 18th, 2002. Dr Schmitt was the last man to walk on the moon and the only scientist to do. Organised by the Mars Society Australia, the tour program will include public events in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne.

Highlights of the tour will include a gala dinner at the Corus Hotel Sydney on Friday 12th July, and the presentation of the keynote opening address at the Australian Mars Exploration Conference at the University of Sydney on 13th July.

To find out more, read Dr Schmitt's bio, view the tour program and download a media release.

Students Consider Life on Mars 'Down Under'
Seventeen Australian university students are about to examine what it would be like to live and work on Mars and the human and psychological effects of isolation and close confinement for months on end.

The Australian National University (ANU) School of Psychology, with the close involvement of Mars Society Australia (MSA), is running an inaugural Coastal Summer School, which will require young people to put themselves in the place of those who might one day venture to the Martian surface. This event, to be held at Kioloa, a property owned by ANU on the NSW coast, on December 9-11 was advertised nationally, with 17 students selected to take part from a group of around 70 applicants.

Find out more here.

Mars-OZ Proposal Document Released
Mars Society Australia has released version 1 of the Australian Mars Analogue Research Station (Mars-OZ) proposal document. The Lake Frome Plains to the east of Arkaroola was selected for the site of (Mars-OZ) during the Jarntimarra Expedition, which was undertaken in October-November 2001. Mars-OZ will provide a laboratory to study how humans will live and work on Mars, and will complement similar stations in Utah, Devon Island, and Iceland.

Click here for more information and to download the document in pdf format (1.3Mb).

Call For Papers - AMEC 2002

Mars Society Australia will be holding its annual conference AMEC - the Australian Mars Exploration Conference - in Sydney on July 12-14, 2002. Those interested in speaking at the conference should forward a short abstract (less than 300 words) detailing your proposed topic to Jennifer Laing, on or before 30 April 2002. Queries may also be directed to the same address.

For more information click here.

AMEC 2002 - Prize for Best Undergraduate Paper
Mars Society Australia will be holding its annual conference AMEC - the Australian Mars Exploration Conference - in Sydney on July 12-14, 2002. Undergraduate students are encouraged to submit a paper on issues which have direct or potential application to a future human mission to Mars or Mars related research. The winner will be invited to attend AMEC 2002 and have their award presented by Dr. Harrison Schmitt - Apollo 17 astronaut and geologist.

For more information click here.

New MarsSkin, Communications Homepages Launched
You can now follow the progress of the MSA's analogue space suit project MarsSkin and its communications projects on newly launched homepages.

Project MarsSkin aims to design, produce and test analogue mechanical counter pressure (MCP) space suits which, when worn on Earth, will behave in a near identical fashion to those which may one day be worn on Mars. Communications projects underway include the satellite based SAFMARS (Store and Forward Mars Analogue Messaging System) project, Tools and Applications for Martian Exploration and Research (TAMER) being undertaken by the Software Engineering Research Centre and the helmet systems project at the University of Sydney.

Australian Participation in Mars Gravity Biosatellite Project
The University of Queensland will be participating in a landmark private space mission announced by the Mars Society (US). Known as the Translife Mars Gravity Biosatellite, the privately funded, pioneering mission will study the effects of prolonged exposure to Martian gravity on mammals, a vital step on the road to human exploration of Mars. Also participating in the project are MIT (Cambridge, MA) and the University of Washington (Seattle, WA).

Analogue Rover Project Moves to WA
The Mars Society Australia's analogue Mars rover project Marsupial is moving ahead, following the project's relocation to Fremantle, Western Australia. The design phase of the vehicle is nearing completion, after which time construction will commence at Byfield Engineering, at Riverton, WA. Find out more about the project on its newly updated homepage

HOP is currently seeking sponsorship to complete its internal fitout and for its testing phase. The Mars Society Australia is keen for its sponsors benefit from the extensive national media coverage the project has received to date, which has included prime time national television coverage.

If you would like to contribute in money or in kind, please contact Project Manager Dr Graham Mann.

New Museum Exhibition Focuses Attention on Mars Exploration
The opening of a new exhibition in Canberra on the search for the origin of life across the solar system has focused attention on Australian involvement in future human exploration of Mars, said Mars Society Australia President Guy Murphy yesterday.

To Mars and Beyond: Search for the Origins of Life opens at the National Museum of Australia on 13 December 2001 and continues until 26 May 2002. This exhibition features everything from astronaut Andy Thomas’ spacesuit to a piece of Mars rock, and visitors can even travel to Mars and across its red surface in a 3D virtual reality theatre styled to mimic the interior of a spaceship.

Click here to download the full press release.

European Conference
The Second European Convention of the Mars Society will be held 26-29 September in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. During this event internationally renowned scientists will meet interested laymen in a three day long festival of lectures, expositions, panel discussions, demonstrations and more informal activities. Topics covered will range from mission design to Mars survivial skills and from outreach strategies to arts and literature.

If you are interested in prsenting a paper, send an abstract of 300 words maximum as an email or word attachment to

For more information click here.

Analogue Rover Arrives in WA
The Mars Society Australia's analogue Mars rover project HOP (Human Operations Prototype) is moving ahead, with the the base vehicle delivered to Freemantle, Western Australia. The design phase of the vehicle is nearing completion, after which time construction will commence at Byfield Engineering, at Riverton, WA.

HOP is currently seeking sponsorship to complete its internal fitout and for its testing phase. The Mars Society Australia is keen for its sponsors benefit from the extensive national media coverage the project has received to date, which has included prime time national television coverage.

If you would like to contribute in money or in kind, please contact Project Manager Dr Graham Mann.

Significant SAFMARS Milestone Achieved
The SAFMARS project has achieved a significant milestone with the development of a high-level design for the satellite ground stations that will be used in future Mars-analogue research as part of Operation Red Centre.

Click here for more information.

Project Jarntimarra - Mission Accomplished
Follow the course of the highly successful Starchaser sponsored Jarntimarra expedition to the red centre through the eyes of the participants! Read the travel logs from Jennifer Laing and Jason Hoogland on the JNT-1 expedition homepage. Also, see the newly updated photo gallery.

Australia is now one step closer to having its own outback space research facility, to be used for testing equipment and technology which could help to send humans to Mars. Find out more by reading our latest press release (pdf) (0.06 Mb).

Email our Mars Experts in the Field!
The Jarntimarra-1 field expedition currently in central Australia is composed of some leading experts in Mars related research, including:

  • Dr Carol Stoker, NASA Ames Research Centre - Mars Pathfinder Scientist
  • Dr Larry Lemke, NASA Ames Research Centre - Advanced projects engineer currently working on Mars airplane
  • Prof Vic Gostin, University of Adelaide - Geology of central Australia, paleo-geology and meteorite impacts
  • Dr Jonathan Clarke, Australian National University - Geology of central Australia, Mars geology
  • Dr Graham Mann, Murdoch University - Robots for Mars and Mars missions
  • Jason Hoogland - MSA technical programme including HOP, Marskin, SAFMARS,Mars-Oz, Jarntimarra, Operation Red Centre
  • James Waldie, RMIT - Mechanical Counter Pressure suits
You can send an email question and our experts will send a reply via satellite, subject to their busy schedule in the field. In addition, Sydney based MSA member Michael West will be available to respond to queries of Sydney-siders on getting involved in the MSA technical programme. Watch for your Q&A's on this website in the coming days!

Simply email your question with your name, age and occupation, or the school you're from if you're a student. Please keep questions to no more than 5 lines of text.

Project Jarntimarra - JNT-1 Mission Update
Follow the Starchaser sponsored Jarntimarra expedition to the red centre through the eyes of some of the participants! For starters we have the logs from Jennifer Laing and Jason Hoogland on the JNT-1 expedition page. We will attempt to update these daily.

Latest Overview of MSA Activities
At a public forum featuring Dr Carol Stoker and Dr Mark Bishop in Adelaide prior to the departure of JNT-1, Tech Director Jason Hoogland presented an overview of MSA including our current technical activities and opportunities for wider involvement in technical and non-technical areas.

The presentation is a single MS Powerpoint document, split for ease of download into two parts. Active MSA members are encourage to use their own adapted version of this to promote our activities. Any questions of policy, budgeting or scheduling should be deferred to the MSA Board via the President.

PowerPoint slide presentation (part 1) (2.8MB),
PowerPoint slide presentation (part 2) (2.2MB).

Mars Odyssey and Mars Society Australia - the 'Down Under' Connection
Mars Odyssey has emerged from behind Mars after orbital insertion at 1pm 24 Oct 2001 Eastern Australian Time. View the latest press release (pdf) on Mars Odyssey and the Mars Society Australia. See also the NASA press kit (pdf) on Mars Odyssey.

Free Public Forum - Mars: Exploring The Red Planet
Presented by the Mars Society Australia and the Department of Geology & Geophysics, Adelaide University. There will be a panel discussion & question time following the presentations. All are welcome!

When: 7.00 pm - 8.30 pm, Friday, 26 October 2001
Where: Mawson Theatre, Adelaide University (enter Victoria Dr., near Gate 8)
Speakers: Dr Carol Stoker, NASA - Designing human missions to Mars
Dr Mark Bishop, University of South Australia - Martian Geomorphology
Jason Hoogland, MSA - Project Jarntimarra: How Australians can help us get to Mars

Download a press release here (pdf).

Jarntimarra Press Kit Released
Download the newly released official Jarntimarra press kit (pdf), which contains information about all aspects of the expedition. The expedition itinerary can be found here. Any media inquiries can be directed to public relations director Jennifer Laing at or by telephone on (0417 135 113).

Starchaser Sponsors Outback Expedition
The Mars Society Australia has announced that a scientific team including experts from a number of Australian universities as well as several NASA researchers will travel to outback South Australia and the Northern Territory on October 27 to examine sites suitable for analogue research activities.

Undertaken as part of Project Jarntimarra, the expedition is being sponsored by U.K. aerospace company Starchaser Industries. "Starchaser have shown great vision and generosity in choosing to support this expedition," said Mars Society Australia President Guy Murphy.

For more information click here.

Ever Wondered What a 'Mars Car' Would Look Like?
In 2000, Mars Society Australia (MSA) commenced its first technical project, Marsupial, following an award of US$10,000 from the international Mars Society. You can now follow the evolution of a simulation platform designed to represent a real Mars pressurised rover online!

Find out more...

Jarntimarra Goes Online!
Project JarntimarraDatabase (JNT-DB) is now publicly available online. The database is a growing catalogue of Mars analogue sites in various locations throughout central Australia. MSA believes that Australia is become one of the best places in the world for undertaking field simulation testing of real Mars mission equipment and forplanning human missions using analogue equipment. The Australian outback resembles in many ways the barren Martian surface.

For the full story click here.

Aussies Hit the Speakers Trail
A revised preliminary programfor the Mars Society's 4th Annual Convention in Stanford, California, August 23-26, 2001, shows a number of Australians delivering papers on Mars-relatedactivities. Australian scientist Katy Quinn, one of the crew members on theFlashline Mars Arctic Research Station, will speak on 'Remote Sensing for HumanExploration', Dr. Nick Hoffman will deliver a paper on 'Volatile Inventories on a Frozen 'White Mars'' and Mars Society Australia President Guy Murphy and Queensland's Ben Cairns will speak on 'From the Red Centre to the Red Planet'and 'Project Marsupial HOP' respectively. It's good to see a strong Australian presence at this year's event and we will try to get a summary of their presentations on this site in due course.

TV Exposure for Australian Mars Research
Mars Society Australia Technical Director Jason Hoogland was interviewed on Channel 9's Today Show on Tuesday 31 July about a proposed analogue researchfacility for the Australian outback and our work on an analogue Mars rovervehicle. Jason spoke of the way this type of facility could be used to further research aimed at sending humans to Mars. Requests for media interviews or appearances to discuss Mars Society Australia projects or activities should be sent to Jennifer Laing, PR Director, at

Australasian Science Magazine Special Mars Issue
The August issue of Australasian Science magazine has just hit the newsagents and focuses on Mars. You'll find lots of interesting articles to look at, including articles on Australians involved in Mars-related research, the 'White Mars' theory, and details of the proposed Mars Society Australia analogue research facility to be located Down Under -Mars Oz! Many of the people involved in Mars Society Australia research projects are featured in this issue. Check it out now.

Jarntimarra Scouting Expedition Proposal Released
The document outlining the MSA's first proposed field expedition has been released. The planned expedition will visit and study a range of Mars analogue environments in outback South Australia and the Northern Territory, building up regional knowledge and contacts to facilitate future hardware testing activities.

To find out more download the proposal document.

WANTED - Engineers With Project Experience
The Mars Society Australia (MSA) is pursuing a bold programme to contribute to the international effort to plan, facilitate and promote human missions to the Red Planet. MSA requires volunteer engineers in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide with at least one year of professional experience to assist with and manage projects. We are looking for both dynamic young engineers with minimal experience and senior engineers with more substantial experience.

For more information click here.

Australia offered role in Mars Research Station Plan
Dr Robert Zubrin has just offered the Australian Mars Society the opportunity to participate in an international program developing the technologies necessary for human exploration and colonisation of Mars. We have been offered one of four prototype Mars habitats as part of the Mars analogue program,to be set up in the Australian desert.

More details can be found in this press release and in the Mars Society's Analogue Stations Program document.

AMEC a success!
The Mars Society Australia has just presented the first annual Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC) in Melbourne on the weekend of 12th & 13th May, 2001. Click here for more information about the program held.

Download a media release

Report on the conference from Michael Paine.

HOP Update
The ?base? vehicle for HOP has been purchased, allowing the team to commence detailed design and construction work. There will be a series of meetings and workshops in coming weeks to map out both how a pressurised rover would be used on the surface of Mars and how it would be used in an Australian analogue research setting. Project management documentation is also under development.

We are currently looking for people to assist in a range of different technical and generalist roles. Contact Ben Cairns and get involved!

Operation Red Centre
We plan to identify and conduct Mars surface simulations in Mars analog environments in Australia. This will include scouting expeditions to South Australia and construction, transport, erection and operation of MARS-2, the Mars Australian Research Station.

The technical program for the Mars Society Australia has been released by Technical Coordinator Jason Hoogland. It includes the Marsupial Project, the Australian entry in the Mars Society's international analogue rover design competition.

Download a technical program pamphlet here.

MSA Aims For First Mars Society Orbital Payload
The Mars Society Australia (MSA) will become a primary user of the Joint Australian Engineering Satellite (JAESAT) which is to be launched in late 2002. If successful, JAESAT could become the first Mars Society orbital payload. SAFMARS will allow Earth-based Mars analogue field workers to send and receive messages to and from the Internet using portable terminals.

Check the technical program page for more details.

Australian Newsletter
The new Mars Society of Australia' s newletter has just been distributed with a bonus CD. The first issue featured eight pages of reports, news items, book reviews, and colour images and was put together by members of the Western Australian Chapter.

This is intended to be a regular publication. If you would like to contribute any articles or advertise upcoming events, then contact editor David Cooper.

Australian Team Wins Rover Funding
The Mars Society Australia will receive a grant of US$10,000 (AU$19,000) to begin construction on a prototype vehicle, part of an international effort to put humans on the planet Mars. The prototype, designed by a team based at the University of Queensland, is known as the 'HOP' (Human Operations Prototype), and will allow researchers to undertake weeklong excursions in Australian Mars-like locations.

Download the media kit here in pdf format.

Dr. Robert Zubrin's Australian Tour
Mars Society President Dr Robert Zubrin recently visited Australia on a lecture tour during March of this year.

The itinerary took him to Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane, where he lectured to several thousand people and appeared at other smaller events. The tour was organised by members of the Mars Society and National Space Society of Australia, with assistance from individuals from a range of other space-related associations and universities. Dr Zubrin was interviewed by three newspapers, three TV stations, and about twenty radio shows, including 'The Science Show' and 'Ask Dr Karl' on the ABC.

In his talks, Zubrin emphasized that Australia, which produced some of the world's greatest explorers in the past, should not allow itself to be left out of the defining human activity of the 21st century, the exploration of space. He also pointed out that pleas of inadequate resources don't wash. "The Pathfinder Mission cost $175 million," he said. "Australia could afford that. That's the price of a shopping mall. It is a disgrace that for the past forty years, Australian politicians have told the country's brightest young people: 'If you want to explore space, emigrate.'"

Brisbane lectures
The Mars Society of Australia (Qld.) is pleased to invite you to the second lecture of 2000. Date: Wednesday, August 2nd 2000.

Dr. Robert Zubrin's Australian Tour
The Mars Society and The National Space Society of Australia is proud to present Dr. Robert Zubrin, who is currently touring Australia on a public speaking tour. You can catch up with Dr. Zubrin at one of the following events:

Monday 13th March: SYDNEY
7:30pm at University Hall, UTS, near the Broadway end of Harris Street.

Wednesday 15th March: ADELAIDE
7:30pm at Bonython Hall, Adelaide

Friday 17th March: MELBOURNE
Online bookings are essential.
8:00pm at Storey Hall, RMIT.

Saturday 18th March: BRISBANE
For further national details click here.

Also, Dr. Karl will be interviewing Dr. Zubrin on his popular Thursday morning segment on JJJ at 11:00am - so tune in and call up with your Mars questions.

Australian Chapter Projects
To get to Mars, everyone involved in the Mars Society is pitching in. From simply becoming a financial member, to actually getting involved in a project team, there is room for everyone to help.

The major challenge for our members at the moment is coming up with a concept for an operational analog pressurised rover. This exciting undertaking has been prompted by a competition being run by the Mars Society in the USA.

Read about the Pressurized Rover Competition here. To be involved, join up!

Site Redesign
We hope you will bear with us while this site is redesigned. To allow us to focus on our primary task: Humans to Mars, the Mars Society is setting up several project groups aimed at specific, real-world tasks that can hasten this outcome.

The website will be a core feature of the way that the project teams communicate with each other and with other teams. Stay tuned for more developments!
For all your Mars News, check out, a new award-winning site that a Mars Society member runs! A compilation of thousands of news stories from hundreds of sources, plans to be there for all Mars News.

Australian Chapter Projects
To get to Mars, everyone involved in the Mars Society is pitching in. From simply becoming a financial member, to actually getting involved in a project team, there is room for everyone to help.

The major challenge for our members at the moment is coming up with a concept for an operational analog pressurised rover. This exciting undertaking has been prompted by a competition being run by the Mars Society in the USA.

Read about the Pressurized Rover Competition here. To be involved, join up!

Historical Note
The Melbourne public has had a long-standing interest in Mars exploration. The following two headlines are both from a local newspaper The Age. The first appeared on 11 May 1907, while the second dates from 8 August, 1996. Is there life on Mars? The debate continues.

Space Frontier News Available
Members of the Mars Society Australia can now also subscribe to Space Frontier News. This is an excellent bimonthly 12 page journal updating the latest space related events in Australia and includes a regular Mars Society column. Annual subscription costs $17.

Australian Researcher Discovers Nanobes
In a discovery with implications for the search for life elsewhere in the solar system, Brisbane based researcher Dr Philippa Irwin has discovered what are believed to be life forms at an unprecedently small scale. Called nanobes, they were found in rock samples drilled from 5km below the seabed off the Western Australia.

As small as 20 nanometres, they are similar in size to the so-called fossils found in the Martian meteorite ALH84001. In 1996 NASA scientists controversially announced they thought they had found tiny fossil structures in this meteorite. The size of some of the structures was smaller than the known minimum scale of life on earth.

First AGM Held in Sydney
The first Annual General Meeting of the Australian Mars Society was held in Sydney on Monday 8th March. The minutes can be read online.

The main outcomes of the meeting were that the rules for the society were formally adopted and that office bearers were elected. These developments will help the society deal with organisational matters and focus more on organising activities. Possible projects for the society is one of the issues being discussed on the Australian Chapter's new Message Board.

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