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                 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.


New MarsOz Base Report - December 2004

This report is based on a paper to be submitted to the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, so has not yet been publically released. It consists of a feasibility study of whether modules the size and shape of those designed for the MARS-OZ simulated base are compatible with the technical requirements of an actual Mars mission. The report examines mass budgets, power loading and propellant requirements through the main phases of the mission from Earth orbit departure to Mars surface departure. It shows that modules with the same overall configuration and dimensions as those proposed for the MARS-OZ simulated base are compatible with a Mars Semi-Direct mission architecture and a four person crew, using ISPP for the Mars ascent phase of the mission for essentially the same earth-departure per module as Mars Direct. The report also concludes that a horizontally landed module is a superior configuration to the vertically landed modules of most other mission scenarios from the perspective of surface operations.

Project Update - January 2004

The Mars Oz project has passed a major milestone in December 2003 with the completion of the structural design and the conceptual interior layout by David Willson, a Hobart-based structural engineer with MSA. Mars-Oz consists of two modules, one housing the living and laboratory spaces, the other a garage for Marsupial and workshop, joined by an adaptor that will allow docking of the Starchaser Marsupial rover and simulated pedestrian EVAs, as required. The Mars-Oz modules have detachable wheels, allowing them to be towed to their designed location with a minimum of work. The cargo module detached into two, one being the garage and workshop, the other and fuel storage module. The basic structures have gone out for tender and responses are expected by early February.

The configuartion of Mars-Oz is based on a horizontally-landed bent biconic aeroshell, one concept that has been considered for mars lander designs. This shape is different from that chosen for other Maras analogue research stations and allows the evaluation ofarchitectural and human factors implications of a configuration different to the more common vertical cylinder. The mission profile of such a spacecraft is consistent with proposals such as the NASA Design Reference Mission and Mars Direct.

The next stage of the Mars-Oz design process is to integrate the power, air-conditioning, ventilation, waste disposal and water recycling systems with the structure and provide an comfortable, realistic interior that can be readily reconfigured to test different layouts. This phase is being led by the expertise of two leading Melbourne architects, David Oppenhiem of SBE and Kirsten Thompson of Kirsten Thompson Associates. MSA is very pleased to have such distinguished people contribute their time and expertise to the Mars-Oz project.

The Mars-Oz complex will provide the centre piece of Mars analogue research in Australia, a focus for education and outreach, and be a testbed and demonstrator of concepts in autonomous, low impact architecture concepts. MSA selected the Arkaroola region as the prime Mars analogue research area during the Jartimarra-1 expedition of 2001. Selection of the precise site for the modules at Arkaroola will be carried out in August 2004 as part of a larger expedition to the area by MSA and international collaborators.

Addendum to Proposal Document Released

An addendum to the MarsOz proposal document has been prepared by Project Manager , and is now available online. Jonathan has included updated information on systems, equipment and fitout of MarsOz, 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 for further information, including a sponsorship kit.

MarsOz Proposal Document

Mars Society Australia has released version 1 of the Australian Mars Analogue Research Station (MarsOz) proposal document. Click here to download the document in pdf format (1.3mb).

The Lake Frome Plains to the east of Arkaroola was selected for the site of (MARS-OZ) during the Jarntimarra Expedition, undertaken in October-November 2001. MarsOz 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.

This document describes the selection process by which six regions, 200 km in diameter, were identified as potential sites and Arkaroola chosen as the preferred location for MarsOz. The Arkaroola region offers a wide range of terrain types, has a complex geology, is relatively easy to access logistically, has outreach opportunities, and includes a number of localities previously studied as Mars analogues.

The document reviews how and why MSA has chosen a different configuration for the MarsOz habitat to the “tuna can” chosen for the other localities. Our preferred sketch simulates a horizontally landed biconic. Using a different configuration allows comparisons between different lander designs to be evaluated. Horizontally landed biconics have some advantages in an actual Mars mission over other configurations in terms of mission profile and surface operations. Furthermore, we believe this long thin horizontal configuration has considerable logistic advantages over the tuna can design.

The habitat itself is part of a larger complex which will eventually include a simulated cargo lander, also of biconic design, inflatable structures and solar power systems. All operations will be carried out in conjunction with existing analogue research programs including the Starchaser Marsupial Rover with its unique utility configuration, and MarsSkin analogue mechanical counter pressure (MCP) space suits.

These components together comprise a significantly different vision for an analogue research station to those constructed or proposed to date. Together, they are shown in the above illustration by . Potential research at the facility is multi-disciplinary. This document highlights engineering, science, information systems, environmental systems, and human factors as the key fields of research.

Finally, this document outlines further work necessary to transform the sketch into a detailed design proposal and possible costs of doing so. The only available costing is comparison with other Mars Analogue Research Stations. These comparisons, converted to Australian dollars, suggest a construction cost of the order of $700,000 and an annual operating cost of $120,000. We envisage the facility operating for a preliminary period of five years. A series of 8 program way points provide a guide to significant landmarks in the achievement of the goal of an operating MarsOz. They are the decision to commit to MARS-OZ, region selection, preliminary design, formal design, site selection, construction, deployment, and operation. This document marks the conclusion of the preliminary design phase.


Flashline Arctic Station
Mars Desert Research Station

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