Canadian innovation will be the main scout in NASA’s next lander mission to Mars. A Canadian-designed weather station will play a lead role in answering questions about the planet’s geology and climate. “We are now just learning that those environments, to our great surprise, do support microbes,” said Victoria Hipkin, a planetary scientist at the Canadian Space Agency.
Yukon company builds drill for Mars CBC News
NASA has hired a Yukon-based drilling company to design a drill for missions to Mars. Erik Blake, the president of Icefield Instruments in Whitehorse, has 12 years of experience designing drills for research on glaciers and icefields. Two years ago, a NASA team in Houston contacted Blake to buy a drill for the Red Planet.
The Mars rover Spirit has driven a “long, windy road” and reached the edge of a large crater on Thursday where it looked inside with a camera.
Spirit travelled for over four weeks to reach Bonneville, a 150-metre-diameter impact crater. Since it landed in early 2004, the six-wheeled rover has driven 30 metres.
NASA’s Opportunity rover used its robotic arm to take microscopic photographs of the Martian soil while its twin, Spirit, inspected a rock. Opportunity’s photos show a coin-sized path of grainy soil dotted with pebbles on Meridiani Planum, a plain rich in hematite. The iron mineral usually forms in liquid water on Earth.
Japanese probe may miss Mars CBC News
Technical difficulties may prevent a Japanese probe carrying a Canadian instrument from reaching Mars. This is Canada’s first chance to go to another planet but the spacecraft was damaged on its way to Mars. Japan’s ill-fated Nozomi spacecraft left for Mars five years ago. The journey normally takes six months. Nozomi is the first of four probes expected to arrive at Mars over the next two months.
Hundreds of elementary school students in Nova Scotia are trying to grow tomatoes from outer space. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is encouraging students across the country to experiment with growing tomatoes so the seeds may one day be used on the red planet. Mars is considered a likely place for human habitation, and there have been several unmanned missions to the planet.
Best view of Mars in 60,000 years CBC News
A once-in-a-lifetime planetary event is drawing Canadians out of their homes late at night to look up this week. Mars and Earth will reach their closest encounter in 60,000 years. The beauty of the show is the red planet shines so brightly that city dwellers can’t miss it despite the street lights, so long as they know where to look.
A study of springs and ice-covered lakes in Canada’s High Arctic could help point scientists to life on Mars. Researchers from McGill University have been studying the aquatic environments at Expedition Fiord on Axel Heiberg island. The area contains the most northerly perennial springs in Canada. Nancy Martineau says these springs maintain a temperature of about 5 C all year
More than 2,000 students from across Canada took part in a national science project that aimed to set their sights for life on Mars. Students participating in the Canadian National Marsville Mission simulated life on the Red Planet by building special habitats in their school gymnasiums. Participants learned about what it would take to live on Mars and traded ideas on the Internet.