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Friday, July 29, 2005

HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM... We've hit a Kangaroo!

What will they think of next? They are changing the 'Outback' to 'Outer Space!'

Aussie 'space station'

SCIENTISTS want to build a giant space station in the Australian outback to simulate life on the red planet, Mars.The 36m-long space station would be large enough to include cabins, generators, airlocks and docking hatches and a garage to house a mobile rover to explore the red planet. It would also house an exercise and medical room, upper-level living areas, cockpit, laboratory and up to seven bedrooms.

Mars Society Australia has released a blueprint for the $1.5 million "Mars-Oz" research station, designed as a facility that could could one day exist on Mars. Mars-Oz spokesman David Willson said groups of scientists would live in the station, where they would experience cramped living conditions similar to those on Mars.

"The structure is to simulate as closely as possible vehicles that could land on Mars with people in the near future," Mr Willson said. "As such they appear small and cramped inside but have all that is required to live comfortably in a dangerous environment."

Under the society's plan the station could be built in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia early next year. Scientists believe researchers, biologists and geologists will rush to work inside the German-designed Mars-Oz station.

Mr Willson said Arkaroola was chosen as the perfect site last year because it had a similar landscape to Mars. "It's not just the location and the heat, it's the geology and the biology," he said. "This is the type of biology that they think, if it exists on other planets, that's what it would look like. There are a lot of fossils billions of years old."

The region is known for its radioactive thermal springs, gibber plains, fossils and extinct lakes, which are considered to have "astrobiological significance".

Mr Willson said the Mars Society still needed to secure funding to build the station, with the Australian National University, University of Technology Sydney and the European Space Agency showing an interest.


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