Outback Australian spaceport site comparable to Mars: NASA scientists

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-01 13:32:13|Editor: Li Xia
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CANBERRA, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Astronomers from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have compared a site in Australia's Northern Territory (NT) where they will launch rockets from 2020 to Mars.

Scientists from NASA recently visited the Gulkula Launch Site in remote Arnhem Land.

"When I first saw the land here and I saw the color, I said, 'this is Mars'," Tom Nolan from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in the U.S. state of California told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), referring to the NT's red sand.

"We have fake Mars at JPL to do things, and this is exactly what it looks like ... the color and the texture. We're here."

It was announced in May that NASA will launch at least three suborbital rockets from the spaceport in 2020 which was chosen because of its unique geographic advantages.

"We need remoteness. We can't launch out of Los Angeles. It's not going to work," Nolan said.

"So having the remote area is the beginning ... being out in the middle of nowhere is a great advantage. It's unpopulated. It's a great opportunity."

Another NASA engineer Todd Barber, who visited the site with Nolan, said that the port "could really fuel the local economy."

"From what I've seen today it just looks like an excellent opportunity for future science, technology, engineering and maths careers."