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The low cost manufacture of high technology machines

Mann, G. (2007) The low cost manufacture of high technology machines. In: 7th Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC) 2007, 13-15 July 2007, Perth, Western Australia



This paper argues for the importance, within the Mars Society in Australia and elsewhere, of the development not only of new kinds of hardware, but of new processes for constructing them. The task of preparing the way for future planetary exploration is a demanding one, especially for volunteers working with limited resources of time, money and skills. Successfully managing high-technology projects under these conditions could depend on teams taking advantage of and further adapting the best management methods and tools available. Project managers should strive from the outset to design hardware and processes that cost less, depend less on skilled labour, are flexible, are economical in short run or once-off quantities, meet the needs of scientific field testing and appear credible to media and public scrutiny. Practical lessons learned by the author while managing the construction of the Starchaser pressurised rover prototype are offered to exemplify some of these principles. The paper concludes with a brief call to the international Mars Society to extend this process beyond manufacturing to the foundation of a new synthetic culture, fostering values of pioneer self-reliance, mastery of technology, recognition of human limits and service to the group.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Information Technology
Conference Website:
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