VSSEC Victorian Space Science Education Centre, 2014
Location Scouting Behind the scenes: In-situ World Building with Astrophysicists VSSEC, Strathmore AU 2014
Mission to Mars
Mars Australian Research Station (M.A.R.S.)
Dr. Sarah Jane Pell, Dr. Katie Mack, Dr. Michael John, Rich Byrnes and host Sean Elliot
Visitors wear specially-designed spacesuits and act as astronauts, mission controllers and research scientists. Mission Control officers communicate via radio to the astronauts on the surface, and are responsible for their safety and the success of the scientific mission. Astronauts collect their equipment, de-pressurise in the airlock, and step out onto the Martian surface to collect real soil and rock samples, drill an ice core, conduct a thermal survey and measure seismic activity. After returning to earth, visitors analyse their samples and undertake further scientific investigations in the lab.
Sarah Jane Pell discovering mars rock art. VSSEC Mars Simulation, 2014. Photos by Rich Byrnes. Lab & CAPCOM courtesy VSSEC.
Inspired to StoryBoard a Sci-Fi Short Film
"We are all Explorer Fish"
Inspired by the VSSEC Mars Simulation Reconnaisance visit, I contact award-winning Australian Film producer Shaun Wilson. I tell him that we are all explorer fish (a reference to our evolutionary desire to seek out and adapt to new worlds). By finding an ancient fosilised river bed on Mars, I imagined we should find fish. Like the sardines packed in a tin can for the journey from Earth to Mars, we arrive only to find that we are descendents of the Martian fish. Inhaling the life-spring air from deep below the martian surface we are kept alive: but the intoxicating lure of free-life tempts the explorer and she releases her helmet, sending her into fli-flopping fits of dance. Like a drug, Oxygen keeps luring her further beyond the zones of safety and into the new world... Wilson agreed. With a brief story-board and some prop-making we began shooting.
Mars Explorer Fish: short film by Sarah Jane Pell, 2014. Staring and produced by Dr. Sarah Pell. Camera Dr. Shaun Wilson. Assistants Sean Elliot and Dr. Danielle Wilde.
M.A.R.S. Geological Survey Astronaut Crew
VSSEC Mars Simulation Reconnaisance visit, 2014 Dr. Sarah Jane Pell, Dr. Katie Mack, Dr. Michael John and Rich Byrnes. Photo by Sean Elliot.