The Canadian Space Agency has awarded $13.5 million to MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) to continue to develop a meteorological information station being designed by a York-led team as part of the Canadian contribution to a NASA Mars exploration mission called Phoenix. Brampton-based MDA is the prime contractor to build the scientific station and associated instruments that will provide information about the Martian climate and atmosphere, part of the search for water and traces of life on Mars.
The announcement came following an intensive design review process by NASA and the CSA of the Phoenix mission, which was completed in June (see June 14 issue of YFile).
"The contribution of this unique Canadian space-based data gathering and information processing technology to the Phoenix mission recognizes Canadian industrial space expertise and positions Canada well in this exciting international Mars expedition," said Savi Sachdev, director general of space programs for the CSA.
Left: Illustration of MET package in its shroud
MDA has teamed with Optech Incorporated – led by Allan Carswell, York professor emeritus – for instrument development, which draws upon both companies' experience and previous offerings. York and other Canadian scientists led by Diane Michelangeli of York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering are actively participating in this program.