The UK Space Tourism Company, Starchaser Industries through their Director, Paul Young has generously donated another UKP 20,000 (AU$ 46,723) for Stage 3 of the construction of the Starchaser Marsupial Rover project.
This funding will cover the final construction and fit out of the roverbefore it becomes operational, which is expect to be June 2006.
The analogue Starchaser Rover is being built by the Mars Society Australia in Western Australia to replicate the type of vehicle that would be used by long distance explorers on the surface of the Red Planet.
The project arose from a competition by the Mars Society in the US to raise awareness of the need for vehicles to provide simulations for crews prior to sending the first interplanetary explorers to Mars.
Built to carry 2-3 persons, the Starchaser Rover is based on a stretched long wheelbase forward control Landrover chassis and running gear powered by a Toyota engine. The vehicle will be convertible from full cabin to ute (pick-up) configuration, and will be complete with airlock, toilet facilities, head-up displays, GPS navigation equipment, spacesuits for simulated EVAs, hydraulic robotic arm, long range fuel tanks etc.
The vehicle will be deployed to a planned Mars simulation base in the Arkaroola region in SA for studies in a Mars-like environment, however its home base will be at a purpose built rover laboratory at the Centre for Planetary and Space Studies, the latter a joint venture by the Mars Society and Trinity College, East Perth, Western Australia.
Mars Society Australia
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Looking For Life On Mars -- In Australia's Outback
Sydney (AFP) Jul 28, 2005
Australian scientists are planning to build a "space station" in the remote outback to simulate the conditions future human explorers could face on Mars. Mars Society Australia says the station will be the final step in a worldwide experiment which has seen similar projects set up in the Canadian Arctic, the Utah desert and Iceland.
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