Jarntimarra Diary - Jennifer Laing

TUESDAY 30 OCTOBER 2001, 20.00 hours

Location: Henbury Craters
Written by: Jennifer Laing

First night camping in the `bush' and we have the luxury of an extra hour as the Northern Territory does not have daylight saving. We have a three hour drive, and must meet up with media crews in Alice Springs. Time for a shower at a local caravan park, and then on to the rendezvous point - the Blue Grass restaurant. It's shut, and Nick McCallum from Channel 9's Today Show suggests we adjourn to Bojangles in Todd Street. Other media turn up - the Centralian Advocate newspaper and ABC TV Alice Springs - while Vic Gostin does a radio interview with ABC Darwin and Jon Clarke handles the ABC Alice Springs. Lunch is rushed, and we make arrangements to meet up with the TV crews at the turnoff to Henbury Craters from the Stuart Highway. Channel 9 hire a chopper, and film the convoy going down the road, from an incredibly low height. Good fun, and James W makes everyone laugh with his aside over the vehicle intercom - `Hi Mum!'

Henbury Crater was formed by a meteorite, which probably hit a couple of thousand years ago. A group scale the rim, while others conduct interviews at the base. The support party set up camp nearby, and Channel 9 film us sitting around the campfire. After-dinner chat centres on a movie of a Mars aeroplane which Larry Lemke helped develop at NASA Ames Research Center. It held a group of us spell-bound, with the young engineers such as Michael taking the opportunity to quiz Larry on his ground-breaking research.

High-tech, juxtaposed with an Outback setting which has remained untouched for years.