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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AMEC2012 Conference Program Released - REGISTER NOW!!!

The 12th Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC2012) will be held in Canberra this coming weekend and is an opportunity for researchers and space enthusiasts to meet and discuss some of the latest Mars releated research.  A draft program has been released and may be downloaded from the AMEC2012 Homepage.  Themes that will be touched upon in presentations include robotic missions to Mars, Martian geology, space policy and Mars in education.  Registration is available for single days as well as both Saturday and Sunday, and includes lunch.  The conference will open with a public lecture by Professor Ross Taylor on the evening of Friday 14th September titled 'Are We Along?'.   REGISTER NOW!!!

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AMEC2012 Speakers Announced

A preliminary list of speakers and abstracts for AMEC2012 has now been released, and consists of local and international presenters. 

They include Dr Duncan Steel, Dr Jonathan Clarke, Dr Colin Paine, Mr David Willson, Mr Mike Bodnar, Ms Kellie Orr, Ms Haritina Mogosanu, Mr Guy Murphy, Mrs Steve Hobbs, Ms Annalea Beattie, Mr Shaun Moss and Mr Mark Gargano.  Themes addressed include present and future Mars robotic missions, Mars analogue research, Mars in popular culture and Mars in education.  Further speakers will be added to this list shortly. 

Read more including presentation abstracts on the AMEC homepage.

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Professor Ross Taylor to Deliver First David Cooper Memorial Lecture

The Mars Society Australia is delighted to announce Professor Ross Taylor will deliver the first David Cooper Memorial Lecture on 14th September.  His lecture will be titled 'Are We Alone?'.  This event will be held at the Woden Southern Cross Club at 7pm, and will open the 12th Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC2012) to be held over the weekend of 14th-16th September.  Entry will be $5. Download a lecture flyer.

The David Cooper Memorial Lecture series has been established in memory of David Cooper, co-founder and President of the Mars Society Australia, who sadly passed away in July of this year.


Presentation Summary - Is There Anyone Out There?

Now that thousands of planets outside our solar system have been discovered, it is often supposed that there must be other inhabited worlds out there whose inhabitants are much more advanced than we are. This  question has been around for at least 2500 years. Are we now closer to an...

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NASA's Curiosity Rover Successfully Lands on Mars

The Mars Science Laboratory Rover 'Curiosity' has successfully landed on Mars after a grueling 7 minute descent involving a 'Skycrane' landing system which had never been tried before on a space mission.  Curiosity is the largest robotic rover ever to be sent on a planetary mission, and has the largest scientific payload by mass.  It sent back the first surface images (including the one shown at right) soon after touchdown.  Curiosity will spend the first few days testing systems and surveying the surrounding terrain, before commencing its journey across the surface. 

Read more at Mars Science Laboratory Mission Homepage. 

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MEDIA RELEASE - Countdown Begins for Curiosity Landing

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At 3:31 pm, Eastern Australian Standard Time on August the 6th, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) will arrive on the Martian surface.  This mission delivers Curiosity, the largest and most complex rover ever to land on Mars or any other planetary body in the solar system.  The mission is the result of almost a decade’s effort by NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and their partners in Spain, Finland, and Russia. 

According to David Willson, a Mars Society Australia director and engineer working at NASA Ames, “whether it succeeds or fails, this mission will have an impact on the NASA Mars exploration program for years to come.”  

The landing site for MSL is Gale Crater, a large and ancient...

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