Adelaide Guest Lecture: Was Mars Ever Alive?

Exciting discoveries are continually being made on our sister planet, Mars. NASA's rovers plus orbiting satellites have revealed many, often unexpected features.  Bright ice exists only 50cm below the surface.  Martian river networks formed under semiarid climates, when floods alternated with long dry spells. Liquid surface water lasted at least 10,000 years. Strange vertical shafts cutting through lava flows may be windows into lava tunnels. Could these contain life? The newly arrived Curiosity is already increasing our understanding of Martian long history.

(Guest Lecture followed by monthly Adelaide branch meeting).

Assoc. Prof. Victor Gostin, M.Sc. (Melb), PhD (ANU)

Victor Gostin is a retired Associate Professor and an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow in Geology and Geophysics at the University of Adelaide, Australia. A graduate of Melbourne University with a PhD from the ANU, Canberra, Victor lectured in earth sciences at Adelaide University from 1970 to...

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13th Australian Space Science Opens Monday - REGISTER NOW!

The 13th Australian Space Science Conference (ASSC) will be held in Sydney next week at the University of NSW, beginning Monday, 30th September.  This will be the seventh ASSC jointly sponsored and organised by the National Committee for Space and Radio Science (NCSS) and the National Space Society of Australia (NSSA), with the support of the Australian Space Research Institute (ASRI) The ASSC is intended to be the primary annual meeting for Australian research relating to space science. It welcomes space scientists, engineers, educators, and workers in Industry and Government.  This year the ASSC will be run in association with the Mars Society of Australia, and will include a session stream on Mars related topics.

Find out more and register at the ASSC Homepage.


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Mars Society Launches Inspiration Mars Student Design Competition

Today during the 16th Annual International Mars Society Convention, the Mars Society announced the launch of an international engineering competition for student teams to propose design concepts for the architecture of the Inspiration Mars mission. The contest is open to university engineering student teams from anywhere in the world. 

Inspiration Mars Executive Director Dennis Tito and Program Manager Taber MacCallum were present for the announcement. “Inspiration Mars is looking for the most creative ideas from engineers all over the world," said Tito. "Furthermore, we want to engage the explorers of tomorrow with a real and exciting mission, and demonstrate what a powerful force space exploration can be in inspiring young people to develop their talent. This contest will accomplish both of those objectives."

The requirement is to design a two-person Mars flyby mission for 2018 as cheaply, safely and simply as possible. All other design variables are open. 


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Mars Society & EU-INTERACT Cooperate on Climate Research at FMARS

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic (EU-INTERACT) to use the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) on Devon Island in northern Canada, approximately 900 miles from the North Pole, as one of the network’s field stations. FMARS is a unique Mars analog research station established by the Mars Society in July 2000 to serve as a key element in support of various studies of technologies, strategies, architectural design and human factors involved in proposed human missions to the Red...

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Mars Society Launches Effort to Conduct One-Year Mission in the Canadian High Arctic

The Mars Society announced today that it is initiating an effort to conduct a one-year simulated human Mars exploration mission in the Canadian high Arctic at its Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS). Situated at 75 degrees north, roughly 900 miles from the North Pole, FMARS is located adjacent to a 20 kilometer meteor impact crater in the midst of a polar desert that is known to represent one of the most Mars-like environments on Earth. By conducting a Mars surface mission simulation at FMARS of the same duration as is needed for an actual expedition to the Red Planet, the Mars Society will take a major step forward towards learning how humans can most effectively explore the new interplanetary frontier.

The Mars Society plan, called Mars Arctic 365 (MA365), is divided into two phases. Scheduled to commence this July, the first phase will accomplish the refit of FMARS and enhance the facility’s equipment, enabling it to support an effective one-year mission, which...

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Opinion: ‘Yes, No and Careful’ to Dennis Tito’s Bold Mars Expedition

Now that the initial public reaction to Dennis Tito’s press release about his  Inspiration Mars plan has died down, it’s time to take a good look at the nuts and bolts of this idea. In case you missed it, Tito and a group of aerospace manufactures and NASA scientists are proposing to send two people on a 1.4 year Mars flyby in 2018, using a combination of off-the-shelf hardware but with some needed development.  

The detailed work, presented in a paper to IEEE Aerospace conference in March, shows that these people are serious, and have spotted an unusual (these 1.4-year solutions only appear every 15 years) opportunity for a remarkable adventure. It’s early days, of course, but I have mixed feelings about the mission as it stands. On the...

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TasMars Features on Sunrise Program

The Australasian TasMars expedition is now coming to an end after a highly successful two week mission.  Crew members included California based Australian engineer David Willson and Melbourne engineer Emma Braegen.  The expedition included a report on Channel 7's Sunrise Program 'Mission to Mars', which may be viewed online here.

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TasMars Mission Commences

MSA wishes the greatest success to the TasMars expedition, which has just commenced at the Mars Desert research Station. The TasMars crew is the 123rd to work at MDRS and includes members of Mars Society Australia and Mars Society New Zealand with colleagues from NASA Ames Research Centre. 

Crew commander is MSA director David Willson, he is joined by Emma and engineer from Melbourne, Melanine Newfield, a biologist from New Zealand, and Dr Jennifer Blank, a geologist from NASA ARC.  Other researchers will visit the crew during their two week stay.

The TasMars mission is a follow on to the very successful KiwiMars mission in 2012. Like KiwiMars, it has a joint Australian-NZ crew with additional participation from crew members from the US.  The...

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Queensland Branch Holds First Meeting for New Year

The Queensland Chapter of Mars Society Australia is now back in the swing of things!  We recently had our first meeting for the new year last Tuesday the 15th of January. Where we saw the ceremonial handover of leadership from Shaun Strong to myself, Chris Andrews. 

Coming up in the MSA QLD branch this year will see a new Bi-monthly podcast series, that will feature the latest space news, mars society news, interviews and a whole lot more.  We also have ambitions to make it a LIVE weekly occurrence. 

Also in our schedule, we plan to host many Presentations, Field Trips and a new Lecture series, as well as planning ways to increase our membership and raise awareness to the general public. 

I am very excited to be apart of this great International movement, and look forward to the new year ahead of us. I encourage those that live in QLD and Brisbane in particular to come and join in and contribute in any way you can. 

On to...

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AMEC 2012 Report

Ross Taylor

Professor Ross Taylor gave the opening presentation (Photo: Rod Taylor)

As the Curiosity rover continued its solitary trek towards Mount Sharp, on a small blue planet some 300 million kilometres away, a group of engineers, scientists, and enthusiasts gathered to share their knowledge and passion for the exploration of Mars.

This was the twelfth annual conference of the Mars Society Australia, a non-profit research organisation dedicated to advancing the exploration and understanding of Mars. During the weekend the conference, held at the Canberra Southern Cross Club in Woden, brought together local and international speakers to present the latest Mars related research and outline possibilities for the future.

Professor Ross Taylor, a distinguished geochemist and planetary scientist...

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