Minister Paradis Unveils Canada's Rover Prototypes for the Moon and Mars
Longueuil, Quebec, October 19, 2012 — Today, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), together with Steve MacLean, President of the CSA, celebrated Canada's legacy in space by highlighting another milestone in CSA's robotics work on rovers. These terrestrial rovers are bringing CSA one step closer to developing the next generation of rovers for space exploration. The rovers performed robotic demonstrations at the CSA's analogue testing terrain, the largest of its kind in the world, which replicates the surface of the Moon or Mars.
"Canada's reputation for excellence has been carved out through decades of innovation and technological advances such as the iconic Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Dextre," said Minister Paradis. "That legacy continues with the Next Generation Canadarm and these pioneer terrestrial rovers."
The terrestrial rovers and scientific equipment unveiled today are the forerunners of vehicles and science instruments that may one day serve in exploring destinations like the Moon or Mars. They will be put to work in field tests to: help define the science and technology most likely to be required in future space exploration missions of interest to Canada; assess potential contributions to such missions; and refine the required technologies so they are sufficiently mature when opportunities arise.
"These model rovers are a stellar example of how our Government's investments in space are strengthening Canadian S&T excellence, fostering industrial innovation and commercialization, and positioning Canada for continuing economic growth in the knowledge economy," continued the Minister.
In 2009, Canada's Economic Action Plan committed $110 million over three years for advance robotics and space exploration technologies, of which $60 million was allocated to the Exploration Surface Mobility project. These funds for the rovers project were invested in a total of 33 challenging high-technology projects to over 40 Canadian private sector companies and a dozen universities.
Since 2006, the Government of Canada has invested nearly $8 billion in initiatives supporting science, technology and the growth of innovation firms in Canada, including $5 billion for advanced research, education and training; $2 billion for post-secondary infrastructure; and $1 billion for applied research and financing. This funding has helped to make Canada a world leader in post-secondary education research and to create the knowledge and highly skilled workforce that are required for a more prosperous economy.
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