Canadian Space Agency

Canadian Space Agency

November 10, 2008 17:26 ET

CSA: Phoenix Mars Lander Concludes a Successful Mission

LONGUEUIL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Nov. 10, 2008) - Today, NASA and the University of Arizona announced that they are bringing to a close the successful Phoenix Mars Lander mission. Phoenix has exceeded expectations by performing breakthrough science far beyond its planned 90-days in the hostile environment of the Red Planet, with discoveries like the presence of water ice in the Martian soil, and the Canadian discovery of snow falling from clouds in Mars' atmosphere.

"Canadians can be proud of our participation in this mission where our science and technology have put the Maple Leaf on Mars for the very first time," said the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency. "Canada's contribution of an advanced weather station and signature technologies such as the lidar instrument has been absolutely critical to the scientific breakthroughs the Phoenix mission has produced since landing on Mars. I'd like to congratulate all of the Canadians who worked on Phoenix-from the world-class science team to the engineering team that developed leading-edge technology that performed so well."

Since the Phoenix Mars Lander touched down on Mars on May 25, 2008, its Canadian weather station has beamed back daily weather reports, including the temperature and pressure, and measured dust, clouds and fog in the lower atmosphere. Most significantly, the weather station's lidar instrument confirmed that it snows on Mars by detecting snowflakes falling from clouds about 4 kilometres above the spacecraft's landing site.

Canada's participation in Phoenix brought together expertise from the Canadian Space Agency, private industry and the research community from across the country. York University led the Canadian science team with the participation of the University of Alberta, Dalhousie University, Optech and Natural Resources Canada (Geological Survey of Canada), with international collaboration from the Finnish Meteorological Institute. MDA Space Missions was the prime contractor for the meteorological station, in partnership with Optech. The Canadian Space Agency invested $37 million for the design, development, operations and scientific support of the MET station.

The Phoenix Mission is led by Principal Investigator Peter H. Smith of The University of Arizona, supported by a science team of CO-Is, with project management at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and development partnership with Lockheed Martin Space Systems. International contributions are provided by the Canadian Space Agency; the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland; the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus Denmark; the Max Planck Institute, Germany; and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

About the Canadian Space Agency

Established in 1989, the CSA coordinates all civil space-related policies and programs on behalf of the Government of Canada. The CSA directs its resources and activities through four key thrusts: earth observation, space science and exploration, satellite communications, and space awareness and learning. By leveraging international cooperation, the CSA generates world-class scientific research and industrial development for the benefit of humanity.

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