South Australia

For more information contact -

South Australian Branch Coordinator
Mars Society of Australia

Branch Coordinator: 
0481 093 877
Event Information: 

WHAT:  Are you interested in space exploration? Dream of a future amongst the stars? Our first step is Mars. 

Exploration, research and development, the latest discoveries, issues and philosophy which may impact on exploration of Mars.

A warm welcome is extended to everyone interested in Mars or space exploration.  Feel free to join us after the presentation.

For those who would like to join in, some people purchase meals, e.g. share pizzas.

WHERE: Nova Systems, 27-31 London Road, Mile End South  SA  5031 

WHEN:   Sunday 6:00PM - 8:00PM

If you require further information, contact Marcia 0481 093 877

RSVP is not usually essential but is appreciated for planning purposes

Event dates for 2018: February 4th, March 4th, April 8th (a week later due to Easter), May 6th, June 3rd, July 1st, August 3-5th (Science Alive! at the Adelaide Showgrounds), September 9th (a week later due to Fathers' Day), October 7th, November 4th, December 2nd


Sunday 4th February 2018 at 6 pm Free Public lecture Live Via SKYPE including Q&A, Dr Rowena Christiansen "Space Medicine 101 – A Primer on What Happens to the Human Body in Space" and A fresh look at the role of the human appendix in expeditionary medicine “from the far corners of the Earth to the stars”: benivolem aut insidiator?

There are two key environments to consider – the protected microgravity environment inside a spacecraft and the unprotected extreme environment of space.
The astronauts on ISS are in continual ‘free-fall’ around the Earth, thus experiencing ‘weightlessness’. This microgravity environment affects every system of the body, in some instances in a more negative way than others, and ‘countermeasures’ are needed in order to attempt to maintain homeostasis (balance) and fitness.  There are also psychological issues to consider, such as the effects of isolation and confinement and busy structured daily schedules, and sleep can be affected.
Due to the physiological changes from extended periods in space, adjusting back to 1G on Earth is challenging, and normally rehabilitation is required.
It is certainly true that “in space no-one can hear you scream”, but would a human left unprotected in space explode as depicted in Hollywood movies? Come along and find out!


Sunday 3rd December 2017 at 6 pm End of year celebration BBQ followed by a free Public Lecture - Dr Alice Gorman "The Haunted Geometries of Space Stations"

Please RSVP for catering purposes - BBQ optional - see details below

For our end of year break up feel free to Dress up, Dress down, Dress for Space, Fun or just come as you are…

Abstract:  Space hardware of every era presents visions of a future based on degrees of gravity. In the early 20th century, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky imagined that life in microgravity would create an idyllic egalitarian society where people basked in orbiting greenhouses, drinking in the limitless energy of the sun. Instead, the wreckage of rockets and satellites orbits the Earth, splintering into ever smaller fragments that mirror the plastic sand proliferating in the oceans.
Among this debris – and further afield in the solar system – are abandoned spacecraft that encapsulate the hopes and fears of those that remain in the bottom of the gravity well. Unlike archaeological artefacts on Earth which have to be raised into the light by excavation, they are ever present, circulating among the live satellites. This is a stark manifestation of ‘the past haunting the present’. More interestingly, there are only two which have ever contained human life – the empty Tiangong-1 and the International Space Station, which is currently occupied but beset with uncertainty. Our place in the space beyond Earth is precarious, yet precious to many. What emerging technologies might provide new visions to propel us into a future space – and a future archaeology?

Bio: Dr Alice Gorman is an internationally recognised leader in the field of space archaeology. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at Flinders University, where she teaches the Archaeology of Modern Society. Her research focuses on the archaeology and heritage of space exploration, including space junk, planetary landing sites, off-earth mining, rocket launch pads and antennas. She is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Advisory Council of the Space Industry Association of Australia and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Her writing has been selected four times for The Best Australian Science Writing anthology, and in 2017 she won the Bragg Prize for Science Writing. She tweets as @drspacejunk and blogs at Space Age Archaeology.

BBQ is optional
o   Cost: $10 to cover meat/ alternative and salads (please let us know if you prefer vegetarian, vegan or have special dietary requirements)
o    For catering purpose RSVP required for those wishing to join the BBQ
o   BYO drinks. If you would like bring a dessert or treat to share 

To book or for further information contact Marcia on 0481 093 877 or


Sunday 5th November 2017 at 6pm Free Public Lecture - Dr Graziella Caprarelli "Anatomy of geothermal fields in New Zealand: possible Martian analogues?"

Abstract: The Taupo Volcanic Zone in the North Island of New Zealand is host to several geothermal fields aligned along the direction connecting Lake Taupo in the south to Lake Tarawera and along the Tarawera River further north. Geothermal waters of mixed magmatic and meteoric origin (i.e., rain water), feed spectacular rainbow lakes, mud pools and geysers, in the process also depositing layers of hydrothermal minerals. A hydrothermal origin has also been proposed to explain the geology of some regions of Mars. In this talk we will explore similarities and differences through a photographic record of the beauty of the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Track and the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. 

Bio: Graziella Caprarelli is Associate Professor in Space Science at the University of South Australia, and Research Professor (Adj.) with the International Research School of Planetary Sciences in Italy. She obtained her PhD from the University “La Sapienza” of Rome, with a dissertation on the geothermal fields of Campi Flegrei (Italy). Her current research focuses on Earth and Mars, particularly volcanic and tectonic processes. This talk was inspired by her recent trip to New Zealand. 


Our October event (which would have been on October 1st) will be replaced by another free public lecture being held in conjunction with the State Library of SA at the library on Monday October 9th

“Introduction to spacecraft and space environment effects on them”

When: Monday 9 October at 6:30pm
Where: State Library of SA, Hetzel Lecture Theatre, Institute Building, Cnr Kintore Ave & North Tce, Adelaide, SA 5000

Booking required:

ABSTRACT: Several hundred spacecraft are in orbit around the Earth and a handful are exploring the solar system, so they have become part of everyday life in the last 50 years. The basics of spacecraft subsystems (e.g. communications, attitude control, power and thermal, sensors), orbits (geostationary (GEO), medium-earth (MEO) and low-earth (LEO)) and missions (communications, navigation, weather, remote sensing, reconnaissance) will be outlined in this talk.

Spacecraft are also immersed in a high natural radiation environment that may be detrimental to their operation. The radiation environment at GEO, MEO and low-earth LEO orbits and their considerable variability will be described. Effects on spacecraft vary widely, such as Single Event Upsets caused by high-energy protons and Deep Dielectric Discharge or Electrostatic Discharge caused by high-energy electrons. The sources of the radiation in high-speed solar wind streams, solar particle events and geomagnetic storms will be described and examples of anomalies presented.

BIO:  Dave Neudegg is a Principal Space & Radio Scientist with the Space Weather Services (formerly known as the Ionospheric Prediction Service - IPS from 1947-2014), currently in the Bureau of Meteorology. He has worked in space and radio related areas for nearly 30 years including some spacecraft data analysis and payload operations with the DLR Equator-S and ESA Cluster-II, Mars Express and Double Star missions. Some of these missions suffered space environment (or 'space weather') effects. High-frequency (or short-wave) radio also involves the space environment as the radio waves refract off the ionosphere, and Dave has worked in this area with direction finding, communications and over the horizon radar. This work included studies of the polar ionosphere and it's connection to the geomagnetic and solar magnetic fields and involved a winter in Antarctica in 1992 with a vehicle traverse onto the icecap to operate a sensor array.

Monday September 11th 2017 public lecture is being held in conjunction with the State Library of SA at the Library. 

Booking is essential. 

What: Mars: the exciting history of our smaller sister planet with Associate Professor Victor Gostin 

When: Monday September 11th 6:30-8:00pm

Where: State Library of SA, Hetzel Lecture Theatre, Institute Building, Cnr Kintore Ave & North Tce, Adelaide, SA 5000

To Book:

Mars has intrigued our imagination for centuries. Would you like to learn more? Join us for this fascinating lecture by Associate Professor Victor Gostin, University of Adelaide.
NASA's rovers plus orbiting satellites have revealed many, often unexpected features. Not only was there a Martian ocean with tsunamis, but large impacts created warm moist conditions suitable for life. As well letting you handle a real meteorite from Mars, this talk will present a few of the many exciting features of our sister planet that have just been published.
Bio: Victor Gostin is a retired Associate Professor in Geology and Geophysics at the University of Adelaide. Victor lectured in earth sciences at Adelaide University from 1970 to 2001. His scientific interests include the origins and evolution of the solar system and of life, meteorite impacts, and environmental geoscience. Victor is keen to popularise earth and planetary sciences to the community through lectures and radio. Asteroid 3640GOSTIN [see GOOGLE] has honoured his scientific discoveries.

SPECIAL EVENT FOR NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK  Science Alive! at the Adelaide Showgrounds  05/08/2017 - 06/08/2017 Visit our booth while you're there!

This is a fantastic way to entertain the kids and get them enthusiastic about science. All booths have fun hands on activities. Very cool.

Opening Times: 9am to 5pm Saturday & Sunday

Entry Cost: FREE for all Under 18 Adults $15 online plus booking fee Concession $10 online plus booking fee

                  Adult $20 at the door, Concession $15 at the door

Pavilion: Goyder & Jubilee Entry gates: Rose Terrace & Goodwood Road


Sunday 2nd July Free Presentation - Dr Alicia Tucker - LIVE VIA SKYPE - Life on ‘Mars,’ the Challenges of Human Spaceflight

We may be starting to get the technology perfected to send people to the Red Planet. As humans, are we really ready?

Alicia is an Emergency Physician based in Hobart, Tasmania.  As well as being a Fellow of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, Alicia is a Fellow in Wilderness Medicine and has worked with the Royal Flying Doctors Service in Outback Australia and as a Ship's Physician to the Antarctic Peninsula.  Learning more about the challenges of human spaceflight seemed like a natural progression after working in these austere environments.  Alicia spent 10 days at the Mars Desert Research Station in April 2017 as part of Crew 179 being schooled on aerospace medicine by a NASA Flight Surgeon as well as exploring the human factors associated with living on 'Mars'.  Alicia is married with 2 young boys and is excited her boys may be part of a generation that will call Mars home.


Sunday 4th June 2017 Free Presentation - Mr James Gilmour of Gilmour Space Technologies - LIVE VIA SKYPE including Q&A - James will talk about their Space Flight Academy, and their new propulsion program. 


Sunday 7th May 2017 Free Public Lecture - Dr Patrick Neumann, Chief Scientist, Neumann Space Pty Ltd “Mars and Back on a Tank of Fuel: Pulsed Cathodic Arc Thruster Missions to Mars”

Abstract: Missions to return samples from Mars and its moons have been discussed for many years, with increasing interest coming as part of NASA’s Mars mission plans. Robotic missions to return Martian material would serve as testbeds for technologies needed in future manned missions, and
thus reduce the risks faced by astronauts in their journeys.  A large part of the technical challenge involved in such a mission is the propulsion system; the sheer quantity of fuel needed for such a mission is staggering if one uses chemical fuels.  Recent developments in electric propulsion could alter the equation, making this type of mission more technically feasible.  This talk will discuss the challenges inherent in this type of mission, before describing the performance benefits available when choosing various electric propulsion technologies over chemical thrusters.

Bio: Paddy studied aerospace engineering and physics as an undergraduate, gaining bachelor’s degrees in both from the University of Sydney, which is where he first started working with electric propulsion systems. During his honours, masters and doctoral work he has refined the system he inherited, from a system optimised for the study of thin film deposition to one that serves as a testbed for thruster prototypes.

Event dates for 2017: February 5th, March 5th, April 2nd, May 7th, June 4th, July 2nd, August 5-6th (Science Alive! at the Adelaide Showgrounds), September 11th (joint withe the State Library of SA), October 8th (a week later due to Labour Day), November 5th, December 3rd