Allan Rock, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency, announced today the awarding of a $400,000 contract to MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) of Richmond, B.C., to support the Canadian Space Agency in defining Canada’s contribution to European missions to Mars, and the NASA-led Mars Science Laboratory mission. Landing safely on the Red Planet is a critical element of any Mars mission. The study to be undertaken by MDA will include an assessment of the design, development and use of laser-based sensor technology to land spacecraft on the surface of Mars. As a world leader in robotic technologies, Canada will also be considering its role in the development of a robotic mining device that will extract samples of the planet’s subsurface and prepare them for scientific study.
Media are invited to attend a conference by Canadian Space Agency President Marc Garneau, who will talk about Canada’s plans for the exploration of the Red Planet, and how space science and technology can benefit life on Earth. This conference is hosted by the Mars Society of Canada, the University of Toronto’s Department of Geology, and the Canadian Space Agency.