Jarntimarra Database (JNT-DB)

Cover sheet


This document provides a very brief outline for Jarntimarra. It will be important for the team that evolves for the project to properly document there work.


The document is intended to help establish the objectives and deliverables to allow a team of volunteers to be assembled and co-ordinated.


Project participants will need to identify, analyse, collate and distill suitable reference material.


Some initial directives for the team (which will be tweaked and compiled into formal documents in the near future):


Identify sites of interest in Australia for Mars analogue research activities (could include Antarctic areas)


Australia is one of the best places on Earth to undertake Mars analogue research activities. Key assets include vast unrestricted spaces for simulations, and natural features bearing a close resemblance to Mars.

For example, consider the possibility of exposing astronauts to seven months on the International Space Station (about the period expected for the journey to Mars) and bringing them immediately to Australia to undertake an extended Mars mission simulation using realistic facilities (habitat, suits, rovers, communications) etc. Some primary advantages include:

  1. Weather conditions are typically favourable (i.e. low rainfall) for simulation activities for longer during the year than many other analogue sites,
  2. Crews could roam over a relatively large field of operations (much larger than other sites such as Devon Island etc.),
  3. Support crews have relatively ready access to modern infrastructure,
  4. The selected field of operations could be found to resemble and contain many features of the Martian terrain,
  5. The simulation would provide a worst case scenario in terms of re-adaptation from micro gravity to Martian gravity (0.38 g).

Australia is a developed nation with good infrastructure (e.g. roads) and the continent has been mapped extensively for mineral exploration purposes. Analogue work can make an important contribution not only to Mars mission planning and research, but to terrestrial science in the form of paleo, geologic and contemporary flora and fauna field studies. There is a need to catalogue sites of interest in Australia (which includes the Australian Antarctic Territory) to help identify locations for field trips and for a fixed research station, to be established in 2002.


Primarily research, discussion with professionals in the field and building links locally and internationally. It will be necessary to seek donated or low cost map and aerial photo images, and if possible GIS images. Access to GIS software and data is highly desirable. There may also be software development to help manage the information.


A database containing information, expert analysis, comments, maps and images of each site and Mars analogues. The team should aim to include detailed information for at least 24 sites. The intention is to create a commercial-quality database that will be of interest to international space agencies when human Mars missions become a reality, creating a valuable asset for Mars Society Australia.


This is one of the most critical activities currently for Operation Red Centre.


We should aim for a completely electronic database, possibly web accessible with password access. Some of the fields to consider for inclusion:

Name text Our site identifier
Location text Lat and Long range
Ownership text Briefly outlines cadastral information
Access text Means of access, nearest supplies and town(s). Contact details for local contacts etc
Risks text Very brief overview of risks to personnel and mitigation strategies (e.g. water access points etc.)
Map - Continental image Location Map, shows Local Region box on continental map
Map - Regional image Location Map, shows local region map with towns, roads, etc
Map - Local image Higher Resolution map(s) showing roads and natural features (GIS quality)
Description text and image(s) General description of site, including any nearby photographs or sketches
Geology text Geological description of site and context
Climatic text and tables Climatic description of area, with data tables of rainfall, temp, humidity etc
Flora & Fauna text and images Very brief description of local flora and fauna, any risks to personnel
History text Very brief general cultural history of site, and history of any research undertaken in area
Analogue Value text and images Describes analogue value of site and includes GIS and Mars (e.g. MOC) images for comparison of features