The national pride of many Canadians received a confidence boost earlier last week when it was announced that Dr. Judith Lapierre would be the first Canadian and first female to command the Mars Desert Research Station. Lapierre is a space scientist of the human and health sciences domain. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Mars Society Canada, a space advocacy group that cooperates with Mars Society organizations all over the world to conduct research in a Mars-analog program dedicated to advancing knowledge in geology, biology, exploration technology, habitability and human factors necessary to conduct human missions on Mars. She will command the station for a two-week period beginning March 24, 2002. This will be the fourth international crew to perform research at the desert facility.