NASA, International Partners Assess Mission to Map Ice on Mars, Guide Science Priorities

This artist illustration depicts four orbiters as part of the International Mars Ice Mapper (I-MIM) mission concept. Low and to the left, an orbiter passes above the Martian surface, detecting buried water ice through a radar instrument and large reflector antenna. Circling Mars at a higher altitude are three telecommunications orbiters with one shown relaying data back to Earth. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and three international partners have signed a statement of intent to advance a possible robotic Mars ice mapping mission, which could help identify abundant, accessible ice for future candidate landing sites on the Red Planet. The agencies have agreed to establish a joint concept team to assess mission potential, as well as partnership opportunities. 

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MDA Extends Satellite Operations Capability Through Contract Award by CSA

BRAMPTON, Ont. (MDA PR) — MDA today announced that it has been awarded a contract by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to provide satellite flight operations and data management services for the Agency’s Earth observation and space situational awareness satellite missions.

MDA will provide spacecraft health monitoring and control, operational analysis, basic system maintenance, data order handling, image quality control and data processing and archiving for the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM), SCISAT and NEOSSat from the CSA’s Multi-Mission Control Centre in Longueuil, Quebec.

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UArizona Scientists Will Test Mars Exploration Drones in Iceland with $3 Million NASA Grant

TUCSON, Ariz. — A team of scientists led by Christopher Hamilton of the University of Arizona is gearing up to send drones on exploration missions across a vast lava field in Iceland to test a next-generation Mars exploration concept.

Hamilton is the principal investigator on a project that has been awarded a $3.1 million NASA grant to develop a new concept combining rovers and unmanned aerial systems, commonly known as drones, to explore regions of the red planet that have been previously inaccessible. These new Rover–Aerial Vehicle Exploration Networks will be tested in Iceland to explore volcanic terrains similar to those observed on Mars.

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Trudeau Names New Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Justin Trudeau

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has replaced the minister who oversees the nation’s space program as part of a shakeup of his cabinet that also involved the first Canadian to travel to space.

Trudeau named minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne to replace Navdeep Bains as minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. The position involves overseeing the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) among other duties.

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CSA Working with NASA on Deep Space Food Challenge

CSA Announcement

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is working with NASA on the Deep Space Food Challenge, a competition to develop new technological ways of producing food for future space missions while expanding opportunities for food production on Earth.

About the challenge

Ensuring that astronauts have nutritious food is a critical part of all human space exploration missions, especially future missions to the Moon and  Mars. Crews will likely have to produce food in space to meet their nutritional needs. Producing food in extreme or hostile environments like space is a challenge that many of Canada’s northern communities also face.

The Deep Space Food Challenge seeks to create novel food production technologies that require minimal inputs (materials, energy, water, etc.) and maximize safe, nutritious, and palatable food.

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New NASA Challenge Offers Prizes for Sprouting Astronaut Food Systems

NASA and the Canadian Space Agency have coordinated to open the Deep Space Food Challenge, targeted at developing novel food system technologies for long-duration deep space missions. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Astronauts need hearty nutrients to maintain a healthy diet in space, but like any of us, they want their food to taste good, too! As NASA develops concepts for longer crewed missions to Mars and beyond, the agency will need innovative and sustainable food systems that check all the boxes.

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Canada’s Top Space Highlights of 2020

Credit: Canadian Space Agency

LONGUEUIL, Que. (CSA PR) — It’s an understatement to say that 2020 was an exceptional year. As the year draws to a close, here’s a look at some of the most compelling, inspirational and incredible moments for Canada in space. Happy New Year!

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What We Learned This Year from Space Station Science

NASA astronaut Anne McClain is pictured in the cupola holding biomedical gear for the Marrow experiment. The study measures fat changes in the bone marrow before and after exposure to microgravity. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Dozens of experiments are going on at any given time aboard the International Space Station. Research conducted in 2020 is advancing our understanding in areas of study from Parkinson’s disease to combustion.

Space station research results published this year came from experiments performed and data collected during the past 20 years of continuous human habitation aboard the orbiting laboratory. Between October 1, 2019, and October 1, 2020, the station’s Program Research Office identified more than 300 scientific publications based on space station research.

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NASA Perseveres Through Pandemic to Complete Successful 2020

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2020, NASA made significant progress on America’s Moon to Mars exploration strategy, met mission objectives for the Artemis program, achieved significant scientific advancements to benefit humanity, and returned human spaceflight capabilities to the United States, all while agency teams acted quickly to assist the national COVID-19 response.

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Northrop Grumman and NASA Complete Final Sunshield Deployment Test on the James Webb Space Telescope

For the last time on Earth, the James Webb Space Telescope’s sunshield was deployed and tensioned by testing teams at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California where final deployment tests were completed. Webb’s sunshield is designed to protect the telescope from light and heat emitted from the sun, Earth, and moon, and the observatory itself. (Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Dec. 18, 2020 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and NASA have successfully completed the final sunshield deployment test on the James Webb Space Telescope in preparation for its 2021 launch.

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NASA, Canadian Space Agency Formalize Gateway Partnership for Artemis Program

Artemis Gateway orbiting the moon. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) finalized an agreement between the United States and Canada to collaborate on the Gateway, an outpost orbiting the Moon that will provide vital support for a sustainable, long-term return of astronauts to the lunar surface as part of NASA’s Artemis program. This Gateway agreement further solidifies the broad effort by the United States to engage international partners in sustainable lunar exploration as part of the Artemis program and to demonstrate technologies needed for human missions to Mars.

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Canadian Astronaut to Fly on First Crewed Orion Mission Around the Moon

LONGUEUIL, Quebec, December 16, 2020 – The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, today announced that the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and NASA have signed the Gateway Treaty, a historic agreement that confirms Canada’s participation in the next major international collaboration in space exploration, the planned Lunar Gateway space station.

Under the Treaty, a Canadian will be part of the Artemis II mission, the first crewed mission to the Moon since 1972. This mission, planned to launch in 2023, positions Canada to make history as the second country to have an astronaut travel to deep space and fly around the Moon. The Treaty also confirms a second flight for a Canadian astronaut to the Lunar Gateway.

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MDA Announces Contract for Canadarm3

BRAMPTON, Ont. (MDA PR) — MDA announced today that it has been awarded a contract from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to develop Canadarm3, the third generation Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based robotic system destined for “Gateway”, a lunar-orbiting international space station. The contract involves the award of Phase A of the Canadarm3 program, with options for the follow-on phases.

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Canadian Science Equipment Sent to ISS as Canadarm2 Readies for Duty

Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques tries the Bio-Monitor, a new Canadian technology, for the first time in space. The innovative smart shirt system is designed to measure and record astronauts’ vital signs. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency/NASA)

LONGUEIUL, Que. (CSA PR) — On December 6, SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center atop a Falcon 9 rocket, headed for the International Space Station (ISS).

In a first for the cargo vehicle, Dragon will dock to the Station autonomously. Station crew previously used Canadarm2 to “catch” Dragon and berth it to one of the Station’s eight ports.

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