Australian scientists will be able to scratch much deeper beneath the earth’s surface following the launch of a $43 million geoscience body.

AuScope, a not-for-profit collaboration between universities, the CSIRO and other science organisations, is set to offer a big helping hand when it comes to issues such as climate change.

Science Minister Kim Carr launched AuScope at Canberra’s Parliament House on Wednesday, joking it will be a landmark study into land marks.

Among its many goals, AuScope hopes to lift the lid on the earth’s subsurface, revealing the composition of the top one km as well as provide a clearer picture about the deeper crust.

“Back in 1864, Jules Verne inspired the world to dream of a ‘journey to the centre of the earth’,” Senator Carr said.

“Our knowledge of the structure and evolution of the earth has come a long way since then and yet we’ve always known we were literally just scratching the surface.

“AuScope is deepening our understanding of this land in ways we can’t yet fully comprehend.”

Many of the nation’s research challenges related to earth sciences, Senator Carr said.

But climate change and geospatial research were likely to receive the biggest focus.

AuScope will pick up some “critical signs such as changes in sea level, atmospheric circulation and the water cycle” to better inform the world about climate change.

Jumping on the geospatial bandwagon, likely to see big advancements over the next five years with the expected launch of over 100 global navigation satellite systems, will ensure Australia capitalises on its commercial opportunities.

AuScope, made up of 10 universities, the CSIRO, Geoscience Australia as well as state and territory geological survey organisations, should put Australia at the forefront of geoscience, Senator Carr said.

 

-Sydney Morning Herald, theage.com.au, ninemsn, September 29, 2010-