The search for life on Mars: An early Earth perspective


The search for life on Mars: An early Earth perspective

Professor Martin Van Kranendonk

November 13th, 6:45 pm for 7:00 pm start (8:30 pm finish)

Messel Theatre , Sydney Nanoscience Hub (SNH)

Physics Road, The University of Sydney




This event is part of the 17th

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Rotor Drones for Mars

by Dr Graham Mann

As in many terrestrial applications, there are good reasons to think that small, highly maneuvrable drones would be valuable to human explorers on Mars. They could be used for scouting difficult or dangerous terrain, aerial photography for EVA safety and maintenance inspection purposes, hoisting antenna wires, fast location of small science targets and rapidly transporting small tools, instruments, circuit boards or regolith samples. In 2014 MSA field trials of Mars astronaut-assistance robots, a small Phantom quadrotor performed as well or better than the ground robots in many tasks.

Very low atmospheric densities and temperatures as well as windblown fine dust make flight in the Martian atmosphere a severe challenge for rotorcraft. To provide sufficient lift, even allowing for one third the gravity of Earth, rotors need to be larger and turn much faster than their terrestrial counterparts. That puts a lot of stress on the rotors. Combined with poor...

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Mars Society Australia at the 17th Australian Space Research Conference

MSA is a partner in the 17th Australian Space Research Conference (ASRC) along with the National Space Society of Australia and the Australian Academy of Science.  This is Australia’s premier space conference covering Australian space science, engineering, policy, history, education, heritage, and outreach.  This year it is being held at the University of Sydney, November 13 – 15.  MSA will chair two streams, one on Mars and one of human factors in spaceflight, with  the annual David Cooper public lecture being held one evening, in honour of the late MSA president.  Member of MSA will be eligible for a deduction.  Members wishing to present are encouraged to do so.  In addition to being a great conference it is an ideal time to catch up with other MSA members.

Find out more about the conference here

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MSA Welcomes New Website Content Managers

The Mars Society Australia is pleased to announce the appointment of two new volunteer content managers to assist with maintaining this website. 

Darryn Wong is a Brisbane based Mars enthusiast with a background in IT and administration. His interest in Mars started after reading the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson back in the early 2000s. He has recently joined MSA Facebook group.

Earl White is based in Oyster Bay, NSW and has a background in both business and IT.  He has recently completed a Master of Science in Astronomy at Swinburne University in Melbourne. 

"MSA relies on the work of its volunteer members to bring the story of Mars exploration to a wider audience" said MSA President Dr Jonathan Clarke.  "We hope the valued input of Darryn and Earl will result in MSA having a more dynamic online presence". 

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MSA to Support the Mars MEDIAN Mission

Mars Median Penetrator
The Mars MEDIAN (Methane Detection by In-situ Analysis with NanoLanders) Mission is aiming at Mars to be the first multi-probe extra-terrestrial network and it's looking for Methane. It is a joint UK, Australian project.

The mission has been devised by Robert Brand, a leading Australian space entrepreneur, aerospace engineer and innovator. At the age of 17, Robert was involved in support for Apollo 11 in Australia with the feeds from Honeysuckle Creek and the Parkes Radio Telescope. He supported almost every mission from Apollo 11 to STS-7 and played a minor support role in Shuttle flights right up to 1985. In that time...

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Free Public Lecture - Dr Eriita Jones - How can we find water on Mars (and why are we looking?)

Sunday 9th October 2016

Free Public Lecture by Dr Eriita Jones - Booking essential through Eventbrite.

Abstract: Any liquid water on present-day Mars is hidden from view within the Martian regolith, but we can still find clues to where it is, and where it existed in the past.  Come along to this talk to discover why there is so much interest in finding past and present liquid water environments on Mars, whether Mars could really support life, and how learning about Mars can teach us about Earth.

Bio: Eriita Jones completed a Bachelor of Philosophy (Science) with Honours at the Australian National University in 2007 with the title of “ Identifying targets within the potential biosphere of Mars through study of gullies and rampart craters.  of Science” and a PhD at the same university in 2012.  Her PhD thesis was titled “Two...

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Public Lecture by Dr James Waldie 28th September


Dr James Waldie will present this year's David Cooper Memorial Lecture on Wednesday 28th September at RMIT at 6:30pm.  The event is being held in conjunction with the National Space Society of Ausralia as part of the broader program of the Australian Space Research Conference.  This public lecture is free, athough registration is essential  through Eventbrite.


The next generation of spacesuits for use inside and outside the spacecraft may be based on form-fitting elastic skinsuits, and Australia has prominence at many levels.  Gas-pressurised spacesuits have created history by enabling humans to walk in space and across the surface of the moon.  Despite being effective as a life support system, the suits are a severe hindrance to astronaut function and capability.  They are rigid, heavy, bulky, costly, leaky, and require...

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MSA Directors Depart for 80 Day Mars Simulation Mission

Mars Society Australia directors Dr Jonathan Clarke and Annlea Beattie have departed for an 80 day simulated Mars Mission at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. They will form part of an international scientific crew undertaking the first of two long duration missions as part of the Mars160 Mission program initiated by the US Mars Society.  The mission will formally commence on 24 September at the same time as the 19th Annual Mars Society Convention in Washington. The MSA board owould like to wish Jonathan, Annalea and the other crew members a safe and successful mission. 

Read the full original mission announcement. 

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ASRC 2016 Registration Now Open

Registration is now open for the 16th Australian Space Research Conference (ASRC), to be held at RMIT's City Campus in Melbourne on 26-28 September.  The conference will bring together space researchers and other interested people from across Australia, with talks on a wide range of subjects, including a Mars stream coordinated by MSA, and a human factors stream. This year's David Cooper Memorial Lecture will be presented by Dr James Waldie.  The conference banquet venue is the historic Old Melbourne Gaol, and will be held on the evening of Monday 26th September.

Discount registration rates are available to MSA members here -

Read more about the conference at ASRC HOME

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Free Public Lecture in Adelaide - BOOKED OUT!

NOTE - This lecture has now been booked out. Reservations are still available for the SA branch's September lecture. 

"LOOKING FOR ICE IN UNLIKEY PLACES' by Dr Graziella Caprarelli

Join us on an interplanetary trip to experience how scientists explore Mars to find buried ice and ancient frozen lakes

Sunday 14th August 2016 at 6 pm at Nova Systems, 27-31 London Road, Mile End South SA  5031

The present day Martian surface is cold and hyper-arid. Currently water ice is present at polar and sub-polar latitudes, and various models show that an ice ground-table is globally stable at variable depths. Geological, geomorphological and astronomical evidence however, indicate that ice was likely much more ubiquitous on Mars. In this presentation Graziella will highlight the physical conditions for ice and water stability on the surface of Mars and at depth, illustrate the astronomical and geological processes responsible for the...

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