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NASA Mars Exploration: Canada Plans To Build Radar Instrument

By R. Siva Kumar | May 08, 2017 07:04 PM EDT

An exciting project to be undertaken by the Canadian government includes a radar instrument for NASA. For the future Mars orbiter, the radar, along with 13 CubeSats, will be deployed from the International Space Station.

The Canadian NASA projects will also include a demonstration of quantum technology applications in space. The expenses are expected to be (CAN) $90 million ($65 million). The radar instrument project's funding is expected to start this year, according to Spacenews.

Canadian Innovation Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said the NASA radar instrument will examine the surface and subsurface of Mars. It can also help to develop a high-resolution map of the planet's surface. "Canada could play a key role in providing critical geological information for the landing sites of future spacecraft to Mars," Bains said. Efforts will be undertaken to provide geological data for potential landing sites on Mars, according to ExecutiveGov.

The scientists are developing the radar instrument and ice-surface sub sounder for NASA's Next Mars Orbiter (NeMO). For its preparation, on March 17, the Canadian government awarded a (CAN) $344,000 contract to MDA Corp. in Quebec. The government is expected to explore the system on NeMO. The orbiter will be deployed in 2022.

Apart from the NASA exploration, demonstrations of the applications of quantum technology will be conducted at the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. Quantum encryption will employ advanced computing technology, leading to the creation of "unbreakable security codes". It would thus lead to secure communications in banking, transportation, and related fields. Both projects will cost (CAN) $81 million in the next five years.

The Canadian CubeSat project will also involve an additional (CAN) $8 million. Announcing that 13 grants will fund proposals from post-secondary institutions to build miniature NASA satellites, the Canadian Space Agency said the cubesats is planned to be deployed from the International Space Station, the CSA noted. Three sizes of cubesats are on the anvil.

Every grant is thought to be costing $200,000. "The CSA will also make arrangements for the CubeSats' launches from the International Space Station and cover the associated costs," the agency mentioned in a document. It asked for letters of interest from post-secondary institutions for NASA.

YouTube/Canadian Space Agency

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