Raising the prospect of a new space race, George W. Bush is expected to announce soon that the United States will return Americans to the moon, then aim for a manned mission to Mars. With the Soviet Union no more and its Russian successor state short of cash, the competitor this time will be China.
Bush expected to target moon, Mars National Post
Canada pushes ahead with Mars weather station National Post
Undeterred by the fate of a Japanese Mars mission that appears doomed, the Canadian Space Agency is pressing ahead with a $30-million project to put a Canadian-built weather station on the red planet. The Canadian Space Agency has awarded a contract for the first phase of a project to put some Canadian content into the next probe to Mars, NASA’s Phoenix mission, which is to blast off in 2007.
Canadian mission to Mars gets closer National Post
A British Columbia robotics firm is to design a laser-guided landing system for a NASA mission to Mars, under a $400,000 contract with Industry Canada announced yesterday. The contract also involves developing a high-tech drill to collect rock samples for NASA’s Mobile Science Laboratory, on a mission of unprecedented scale to explore and study the Red Planet in 2009.
Astronomy beneath the surface, Mars awash in water National Post
More than 100 years ago, Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli peered through his telescope and saw channels and grooves etched across the surface of Mars. The canali, as he called them in 1877, gave rise to incredible science fiction stories about intelligent aliens having engineered the strange structures. A century later, spacecraft and astronomical probes revealed not the handiwork of Martians, but compelling evidence that vast quantities of water once washed across the surface of Earth’s planetary neighbour, carving out deep canyons, channels and coastlines. But the water had long vanished from the now dusty, rusty Martian surface. All that scientists have been able to detect are small amounts of water in the Martian ice caps and a bit wafting around the hazy, pink atmosphere. The missing water has been one of the most perplexing mysteries in planetary science: Was it blasted away by some cosmic disaster? Did it somehow leak out of the Martian atmosphere? Or did it, as scientists are reporting this week, seep underground, remaining there to this day? An international team, using NASA’s Odyssey spacecraft, say they have collected compelling evidence that a huge amount of water is locked underground in a Martian version of permafrost. Or “buried treasure,” as William Boynton, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona, describes it.
Canada takes aim at the red planet National Post
When the first astronauts step out on to the dusty red surface of Mars sometime in the next two decades or so, Colonel Chris Hadfield is confident at least one of them will be wearing a maple leaf on his or her spacesuit. It sounds crazy, but when Canada’s senior and best-known astronaut is laying it out, it begins to make sense. “The countries that are leading the effort to go to Mars have the best chance of providing the hardware and thus the people to go,” Col. Hadfield says, ticking off his fingers to emphasize his points.
Canada wants in on Mars mission National Post
The Canadian Space Agency is angling for a chance to fly to Mars with a groundbreaking U.S. mission in 2007, and is using work on an innovative planetary landing system to try to impress NASA scientists. Canada’s contribution could also include robotic mining equipment designed to delve below the Martian surface for the first time and dig up a wealth of information on the mysterious red planet. If the agency’s role gets a green light from NASA and budget chiefs in Ottawa, it will probably cost Canada in the hundreds of millions of dollars, an agency official said yesterday. “Mars is one of those subjects that really catches people’s interest and it could be a tremendous education and outreach opportunity … especially for young people,” said Alain Berinstain, the organization’s Mars lead.
Inuit, NASA at odds over crater National Post
Residents of a remote northern community won’t allow researchers with the National Aeronautics and Space Agency’s Haughton-Mars Project on to Inuit-owned land on Devon Island unless an agreement for benefits is negotiated. Two weeks ago, representatives of Grise Fiord, a hamlet of 170 people on the southern coast of Ellesmere Island, visited the site of the NASA-sponsored project on the rim of the Haughton Crater, the site of a 20-kilometre impact caused by a meteor collision millions of years ago. The international group of scientists, engineers and students have been working on the crater site for three years as part of the Haughton-Mars Project, which aims to eventually colonize Mars. The barren location was selected by the research team because of its similarity to the surface of the Red Planet. But for the past year, Grise Fiord officials have forbidden anyone associated with the project to use Inuit-owned lands, which comprise 70% of the area around the Haughton Crater.
Alberta researcher’s robots mimic ants National Post
An Alberta-based researcher has developed a team of robots that can mimic a colony of ants and complete complex tasks without communicating with each other — an achievement that may one day lead to armies of androids that will vacuum carpets, mow the lawn or build a space station on Mars.