Arkaroola Mars Robot Challenge Expedition

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QuicklinksDiary - Arkaroola - Expeditioners - MSI Mars Rover - Mars’O Bot - Mascot Hexapod

The Arkaroola Mars Robot Challenge Expedition is the latest of a series of expeditions run by Mars Society Australia (MSA) since its inception in 2001. Destinations of previous expeditions have included the Pilbara, Woomera, and the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, as well as Arkaroola


Where & When

The expedition will assemble in Adelaide on Friday 4th July  and drive in convoy to Arkaroola on Saturday 5th July.  On Saturday 19th July the expedition will return to Adelaide and disperse on the 20th July. Follow progress of the expedition by reading the Expedition diary.

The Arkaroola region was selected for the expedition as it has many features of astrobiological and geological interest.  These include volcanic rocks, stromatolites, ancient and modern hot springs, and dunes.  Links to various papers on the Arkaroola region may be found in the Resources section at the bottom of this page.  You can view some photos of the Arkaroola region in the Arkaroola photo gallery.


Arkaroola Mars Robot Challenge Aims

  1. Test a range of field robotics at Arkaroola with the goal of developing concepts for planetary operations, especially Mars.  Participants include Murdoch University (WA), confirmed), University of New South Wales, Mars Society India, and MSA.
  2. Test control of remote robotic and human field operations at Arkaroola from centralised mission control run by Saber Astronautics from a control room in Sydney
  3. Explore astrobiological features of the Arkaroola region.  These include Proterozoic stromatolites, organicirich, and fossiliferous vein systems, a fossil subglacial radioactive hydrothermal systems, and the Paralana radioactive hot spring.  Research will be led by a team from Macquarie University (NSW)
  4. Work with teachers from NSW and South Australia, both on the expedition and visiting Arkaroola to better equip them in teaching of science. The expedition is the latest in the Spaceward Bound Australia series with this goal.
  5. To stimulate and inspire students and researchers in the disciplines of field robotics, planetary geology, astrobiology, and education  through multidisciplinary interaction in the field.
  6. Reach out to the public using lectures at Arkaroola and media contacts, emphasising the importance of planetary science, field robotics, and astrobiology to both the Australian and global community.


Competing robots include the MSI Mars Rover and Mars'O Bots.  The robot operations will be coordinated through a field operations centre supplied by Saber Astronautics.  The robots will be developed by:



A partial list of profiles of confirmed expeditioners may be viewed here.  The expedition will be lead by Dr Jonathan Clarke, President of the Mars Society Australia. 


Media Enquiries

For any questions on the expedition please email Expedition Coordinator Dr Jonathan Clarke (replace _AT_ with @)

Download the full media release (including images) here.


Expedition Supporters

Arkaroola Wildlife Sanctuary


Saber Astronautics

The Australia-India Council (Dept. Foreign Affairs and Trade)

Vertical Services



Forms & Guides

Expedition Field Guide

Expedition Indemnity Form

Expedition Pack List

Expedition Medical Form

Google Earth Placemark


Web links

Adelaide International Motel

Arkaroola Mars Analogue Region (pdf)

Arkaroola Wildlife Sanctuary

Complete Ute, Van & 4WD Hire

Multi-Goal Mars Analogue Expedition (Expedition 2) (pdf)

NIST Tests (pdf)

Signficance of Remnant Gravel Lags as Landscape Evolution Indications, Arkaroola Mars Analogue Region Geology (pdf)

Testing Technologies and Strategies for Exploration in Australian Mars Analogues

The Flinders Ranges and Surrounds, South Australia (pdf)

The Geology of Australian Mars Analogue Sites

Using an Australian Mars Analogue Research Facility for Astrobiology, Education and Outreach