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Space agency announces $1.2M for scientific work on Mars 2007 mission


Longueuil, QC November 21, 2003 Information systems company MacDonald, Dettwiler & Associates has been awarded $1.2 million by the Canadian Space Agency to develop a key scientific instrument for Phase A of the NASA Phoenix Mission, set to go to Mars in 2007.

“Most benefits from science missions to Mars occur right here on Earth,” says Allan Rock, minister of industry and minister responsible for the agency.”

This project marks the beginning of a multiphase program to produce Canada’s contribution to the Phoenix mission. Phase A involves the development of detailed specifications and concept design by MDA of key components of the Meteorological Station information system for the mission. This station will provide information on the climate of Mars.

“Mars is literally our next stepping stone for the exploration of the Solar system,” says Marc Garneau, Canadian Space Agency’s president. “This planet is within reach. It has interesting features such as water, gravity, an atmosphere and possibly traces of life. Unmanned science missions to Mars, such as NASA’s 2007 Phoenix Mission, help us gather fundamental science and essential information for future manned missions”.

MDA is the prime contractor to the Canadian Space Agency for Canada’s contribution to the mission. NASA announced the selection of Phoenix from four candidate missions on August 5, 2003. MDA leads the industrial team that includes Optech Systems from Toronto. The scientific team, led by Dr Allan Carswell of Optech and of York University, is made up of Canadian scientists from across the country.