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Canada Plans Mars Mission 232

TO-Mars writes: "Marc Garneau, first Canadian in space and current Executive Vice-President of the Agence Spatiale Canadienne, announced in Montréal that the CSA intends a major space exploration effort, including a $500 million Mars mission. For the good of Canada and the spacefarers of Earth, let us hope that the CSA does not again eat its own, and weathers any threats to this inspiring development. I wish to stand at Champ de Mars in Montréal in a few years looking upward with pride ..."
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Canada Plans Mars Mission

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    They're probably sending a bottle rocket.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They just need somewhere to send Stockwell Day
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you just refer to it in Frog, you're less likely to get sued or harassed by the Language Gestapo. I've not heard of anyone getting arrested or fined for NOT using English, but routinely read about it for not using Frog.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The parent comment is brought to you by an unintelligent Canadian, not all Canadians are as stupid as him, if we were, we could not even tell what end of the rocket to put the people in. Canada has heath care, for all citizens, so you comment on not taking care of its sick is simply uniformed, you might try reading something other then political FUD. I am surprised he did not comment on the fact that we are not educating the citizens, although his comment does show it, as he slipped through the cracks and turned out so ignorant and uniformed.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Get a clue. It was the Eurocopter EH-101/CR variant that was ordered. Eurocopter has yet to prove it's ability to actually produce past the test stage. They have yet to setup production lines, or come in under cost on R&D (For the Typhoon and the EH101).
    It was cancelled because it was a bad idea in the first place. Eurocopter is a desperate bid by europeans to displace the American manufactures. Ain't gonna happen.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Churchill, Manitoba - a launch site in the making for about 40 years. Every once in awhile, someone (usually an amurikan) gets the idea that Churchill's latitude would make it excellent for launches... then a little later, they find out it's hard to get rocket scientists to live where it's freakishly cold. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In other news today NASA administrator Daniel "Hosehead" Goldin announced that
    NASA will be the reviewing its plans for its Mars Missions. Goldin went on to
    say "Heck, we just can't figure out this metric thing, so we've decided to pay
    Canada 20 million (US$) to acquire space on their launch vehicle. We will
    become the first nation in history to launch a space tourist rover, appropriatly the rover name will be TITO."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In other news the Canadian Mars probe crashed into Mars and was destroyed due to a French/English screwup when English speaking Canadians misinterpreted the French notation "2,301" as two thousand three hundred one instead of two POINT three zero one.

    And you thought the metric/SAE screwup was bad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28, 2001 @11:41AM (#192679)
    Then there's also the British led effort to Mars called the Beagle 2 [beagle2.com] which is to be launched in June 2003.

    The project aims to land a 30kg (pounds? hope not another ESA blunder) lander onto the surface of Mars.

    For more informaiton see also the Mars Society site and space.com

  • by Tom Rothamel ( 16 ) on Monday May 28, 2001 @12:12PM (#192680) Homepage
    Actually, there were a few achievments that the US did get to first. Specifically:

    • First rendezvous between two manned spacecraft. (Gemini 76)
    • First docking of a manned spacecraft. (Gemini VIII)
    • First manned craft to orbit the moon. (Apollo 8)
    • First manned moon landing. (Apollo 11)

    That's just by the manned program. There are also a few firsts by the US in the unmanned arena, including the first flybys of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. IIRC, the US was also the first to flyby Mercury, and to land on an asteroid.

    I just wouldn't say the Soviets were ahead on every major score, especially after Gemini got going.

  • God help us.

    Perhaps he meant Canada is planning a trip to the town of Mars in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania?

    It's a small town northwest of Pittsburgh PA.

    We can only hope.
  • by Micah ( 278 ) on Monday May 28, 2001 @11:00AM (#192682) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, CA$500 million. That's enough to buy.... let's see.... a burger, fries, and Coke!
  • Yeah, well, when a big asteroid is headed this way, we'll just send out a shipload of oil drillers.

    That'll make plenty of sense then, my friend. Bruce Willis kicks ass. *snicker
  • heh... yeah, too bad us wackos own everything.


    (*hanging my head. I'm so terribly, terribly sorry. It's a recycled Tim Allen joke and I deserve your incisive Maritime scorn).

    -Tim Doran
  • 2.) National pride. People like to sing "I did it my way", without anyone else's help.
    Personally, I agree with you, but large-scale unity won't happen for a while yet. I don't count the ISS, because it's really just a collection of modules that were made by nation's individually.

    And in Russia's case, financed by the United States as a technological corporate welfare program. Yes, yes. Truly international when we're paying them to build it. We could have had Boeing or some other US company build the modules we let the Russians build for less money! Only in the interests of international politics were they even involved.
  • Given that Canada lies north of the 48th, I wonder what they're planning on using for a launch site. Probably they can get time with some of the many equatorial launch facilities, but a Mars program involves transporting an awfully large amount of stuff to the launch site, especially if they try to keep production mainly within Canada.
  • The Russian sites are as far north as Canada anyway so would have no advantage (well except they are alreasy set-up ;) and Sea Launch is too small to launch anything of any decent size. The European launch site would be an good choice however as it's very well equipped and around 2 degrees off the equator (iirc) which is the best that anyone has at present.

    To be honest a Mars mission would probably be assembled from parts launched on various launches and would then leave from low earth orbit.....

  • The people from the north have bigger rockets than the people from south. Na na NA Na na

    But that all changes with an Aussie Space Program, they might have the the biggest rockets of em all.

    Could you picture the size of the rockets from Greenland :)

    Lol :)

  • >Ok, the next time the PC or NDP or whoever get

    Snow. Hell. 'Nuff said. :)
  • Mars is a good colour for a Canadian hockey team, too. But what would we call them?
  • Hmm, and maybe hire some out-of-work Russian scientists to work on the hardware? Our flag is red, after all, comrades... ;)
  • Especially if we name the first Mars probe "Hoser 1".
  • >Why do people in Ontario elect Mike Harris, the
    >most right-wing guy in the world, and then go and
    >throw all their support for a left-wing federal
    >party like the grits? What's up with that? People
    >in Ontario need to get their collective head out
    >of their ass. Can you tell I'm from the West?

    The Liberals? They sure ain't left-wing.

    But I appreciate the fact that you didn't call Ontarians "easterners". Us folks in the atlantic provinces really hate getting lumped in with those wackos in the middle. :)
  • Sadly, there is [gundam.com].

    At least we made out better than Holland [gundam.com] did. Poor bastards. Theirs looks like a rejected Go-Bot design.

  • Every once in awhile, someone (usually an amurikan) gets the idea that Churchill's latitude would make it excellent for launches... then a little later, they find out it's hard to get rocket scientists to live where it's freakishly cold. :)

    Yeah, Baikonur Cosmodrome @ 45.9 N 63.3 E,
    Plesetsk Cosmodrome @ 62.8 N 40.7 E,
    Kapustin Yar @ 48.4 N 45.8 E,
    Svobodny @ 5121'N 12808'E have all been total total party zones, kinda the Club-Meds of astronautics.

    Names & coordinates from FAS [fas.org]

  • What does that translate to -- about $40 US, right? They should just buy themselves a carton of Marlboro Reds and call it a day.
  • space module will have to be larger to accomodate the required size font for the French labels for everything. The upside is it will 'look' cool and have a stylish name :)

    Will they be sending a member of the French Language Purity Squad (FLPS) along to ensure the proper use of grammar ?
  • Would it help if we payed for a flight ??
  • I suspect most of us Canucks would hand you the knife, too. That guy is an asshole to no end.

    Care to kill the people that keep making it possible for him to make movies? Surely some SOB in Hollywood should be taken 'round back and shot for letting Tom have a movie...

  • Betcha it's not Tom Green...

    ...it'll be Stockwell Day, and the whole project will be financed by disillusioned Alliance Party members!

  • *cough* Urban Legend [snopes2.com] *cough*
  • by Bob McCown ( 8411 ) on Monday May 28, 2001 @11:26AM (#192702)
    Yea, I bet its no coincidence its shaped like a hockey stick....
  • Well, not quite, but they took advantage of the fact that a) their program was highly secret, while the US program was public, so they largely knew what the US was going to attempt and when and b) they were prepared to take far more risks than the US was (not that the US space program was risk-free, by any means).

    Their unmanned probes also suffered from the Soviet's crappy electronics, IIRC, which meant that in a lot of cases they may have been first but the quality of the data was not great.

    Not that I'm knocking the Soviet effort - they had a lot of chutzpah to pull of the stuff that they did, and they showed a lot of engineering ingenuity, but the way they did things would never have been possible in the west. And, of course, without the Soviet effort the US space program would still barely be off the ground :)

    Go you big red fire engine!

  • the first reason mostly apply to quebec, since the 50-50 result of 1995 referendum, there's a massive propaganda effort on canadian unity and symbolism. just look at the olympics and you'll see that there's even more canadian flags than usa ones! (hey, and we all know how much americans like to "show off") somehow quebec nationalism is bad but canadian nationalism is good. anyway.

    Nonsense. Canadian patriotism has been strong in the same subdued sort of way for a long long time. It has nothing to do with Quebec, nor with any subliminal nationalism push. Personally I dislike outward Canadian nationalism because I think it'll lead to a backlash: I cringe when I'm in Europe and I see people with big Canadian flags (though damn it's a beautiful flag) on their backpack because that goes for so long before someone thinks "Who the hell do you think you are? Did you fight on the shores of Normandy? No? Then quit expecting Europeans to bow down to you dickhead." That's just me though. If I had my way I'd have a nationwide "Travelling to other countries? Leave the Canadiana behind because unless you did the shit personally quit expecting to be respected for it."

    BTW: Canadian Nationalism and Quebec Nationalism are two very different things. The great pride of Quebec is the language of French (a variant of French that strangely those from France mock) and to many the straight-and-narrow French society culture (i.e. As Parizeau said the "Ethnic" vote is keeping the true white French Quebecor from having the great independant nation of French White Quebecors). Canadian nationalism is a pride in the freedoms and equality of Canada. It's a pride in the multicultural tolerance and truly in the duality of Canada between French Canada and English Canada. It's a pride that despite obstacles of geography we continue to build one of the best societies on Earth for all Canadians. There will be no particular "culture" that is the pride of Canada because to do so would be racist.

    BTW2: If anyone is fighting to pretend it's different it's not English Canada (where there are huge differences across the nation anyways. Alberta is completely unlike Ontario which is totally unlike the East Coast): It's Quebec. Quebec is constantly trying to invent itself as a unique society hoping to get accolades by the rest of the world. English Canada says the sky is blue? Well damnit French Canadians will be certain it must be purple. Gotta be different however trivially.

  • 3.

    Are you insane? Amercian quarters are worth.. what? Two or three Canadian dolars. At least.

  • Let's hope they won't drive their truck exactly like "daddy", because "daddy" is busy running the truck into the ground. There are too many people yanking the steeringwheel.


  • What are you talking about? Canadian labour is cheap and plentiful. So that cuts down on cost, added to all of their natural resources...

    On the off chance this isn't just sature:

    Aerospace R&D costs about the same here as it does in the US. The same applies to most manufacturing.

    This should be pretty obvious. Otherwise, we'd be exporting high-tech manufactured products like crazy to the US :). (No, graphics cards don't count.)
  • I'd love to see Canadians set foot on Mars, but at $500M Cdn (around $300M US), it's going to be a probe, if anything, that's sent there. This is about the right price range.

    A manned ship that could be self-sufficient for the required travel times would cost as much as a space station, because it would *be* a space station.

    As for the latitude comment made by another poster, the article mentions that they're going to contract out for launch capability, which probably means using one of the commercial launch companies in the US. This is more or less standard practice for industry launches.

    It'll still be nice if it happens, though.
  • Of course the US didn't /really/ spend $100 Billion to go to Mars. Where else do you think the money comes from to pay for stuff like Echelon? :-)
  • by Requiem ( 12551 ) on Monday May 28, 2001 @10:38AM (#192710) Journal
    Funny, we've had a Liberal gov't since 1993. What's this "every four years" rot?
  • How about Cuba?
    What better way to tweak the noses of those pesky Americans then to deal with Castro & Co.?
    With the help of the Canadians, the Cubans could fix their economy, get into space... and eventually rule the world!
  • Maybe they could rent out one of the Russian or European launch platforms? Or maybe even use the sea lauch facility?
  • There's also one in Montreal and Quebec, both (presumably) named after the one in France.
  • It's about time we started spending money on things not so local. Canadians in general (and maybe people in Quebec more so - Living here gives me a right to that comment IHMO) seem to have an intense focus on internal issues. It's a nice change to focus on something with a little more importance to the planet as a whole, instead of who lives next to who, and what language they happen to speak. Finally - something I'm happy to have my tax dollars pay. I think it's been a long time coming, and I only hope this is just the beginning!
  • Let's not forget that planned taxcuts in the US would pay our complete national debt 4 times over.

    I'm also from QC, and I agree it's nice to see Canada look over the other side of the fence, but still, there's a reason why we make the arm, and not the space shuttle...

  • FYI CDN$500M ~= US$340M

    I like to think of the exchange rate as a "THANK FUCKING GOD I AM NOT AMERICAN" tax. I gladly pay it. :)
  • Beating a dead horse dept:

    >that didn't make any sense at all, but whatever. We've come to expect such nonsense from y'all.

    Uh, I mean I have no problem paying more for goods since this also means I am not American.

    - Just so you know most of the world doesn't like you a whole lot. ;)
  • Nobody who fails to find their own country on a globe is going to go to Mars anyway, so what difference would that make? Even if they tried, they'd get lost in space. Hey...that gives me an idea...

    Seems to me that the only thing that little demonstration proves is that it's easy to find stupid people. Why does this little factoid shock ANYBODY?
  • FYI, the Russian space shuttle Buran was basically a 2/3 scale copy of the American space shuttle design. From the outside, they're almost indistinguishable (apart from size and markings). It's possible that the Russians simply mimicked the US design, but I suspect that they were able to obtain some handy engineering schematics to help out with the complicated bits.

    Also, the Tu-144 supersonic transport developed in the late 60's was a dead ringer for the Concorde. Russian engineers never seemed to have much of a problem with the "Not Invented Here" syndrome. : )
  • http://www.sciam.com/2000/0300issue/0300zubrin.htm l

    Robert Zubrin's Mars Direct plan goes you one step better. It produces breathable atmosphere (pure low-pressure oxygen, just like in most of the manned spaceflights thusfar), rocket fuel, and even some water from the Martian atmosphere. Shoot your Earth Return Vehicle ahead of the crew, land it, and have it fuel itself up, and lay in a stockpile of fuel, water, and O2 before the crew even leaves Earth. It's a brilliant, elegant plan. If you're interested, check out the marssociety.org web page, and Dr. Zubrin's book "The Case for Mars". Great reading.
  • In Canada? Twenty-five cents.

  • Now THIS would be cool. Another great Canadian technology giving you the feeling of actually BEING there.

    Too bad an IMAX film can only holds 3 minutes of film. Then you'd have to get it back here to be developed....

    *sigh* Still waiting for a high-bandwidth probe to NOT have the high-bandwidth antenna die at an inconvenient time.

  • OK, in America where it costs $1M to put a toilet in Air Force One $500M will get you squat.

    Having less money available forces you to improvide chaper methods. Maybe they could pull it off.

  • So now China is aiming at the Moon [go.com], Canada is aiming at Mars, and the USA is aiming at the ISS in near-Earth orbit.
  • I can't believe that this derogatory comment got a +2 insightful.
  • What an incredible waste of money. The idea that America can do anything meaningful on its own in space is, well, really stupid is the best thing I can say about it. Better to put our money into a bigger pot with other countries and actually accomplish more than make work for downsized DND scientists.

    What do you want to bet the hq of this effort will be downtown Florida?

    I'll be writing to my senator straightaway on this one.
  • Aside from that crazy arm?
  • You'd better hope no Scientologists are working at any of those locations whose coordinates you just published or they might sue your ass in California.
  • I'd have to ask what's the value in doing the launch vehicle ourselves? All the preexisting developed launch sites will have their 'home' vehicle, which the site will be designed to handle. You can't (easily) launch a Ariane from Vandenberg for example. Therefore you'd have to either design a lookalike, or also build all the infrastructure. Either way, it's going to be a lot cheaper to just buy a ride on the existing vehicle.
  • by TrevorB ( 57780 ) on Monday May 28, 2001 @11:25AM (#192740) Homepage
    Additionally, the farther you are from the equator, the harder it is to launch into orbit.

    We could build our own launch vehicle, but it would have to be:

    1) Not launched from Canada


    2) Really Really Big.

    Easier to piggyback for now... At least for the first mission...

    Why do you think those Russian Proton rockets are so big? :)
  • Isn't that the shuttle-clone they produced (kinda like their condorde-clone, which is now available for purchase... linked off Metafilter a week or two ago)?

    IIRC, It's now sitting in downtown Moscow, in a public square, open to the public.
  • Perhaps you mean referendi?
  • Competition!? This isn't a space race. We are not in a cold war with Canada. Nasa has already successfully reached Mars. There was a probe called the Pathfinder. It was a probe that had a remote controlled car that was controlled from earth. It was really cool. Remember we crashed the car into a rock!??!

    Then there are other successful missions. The Mars Global surveyor. It is there right now taking pictures of Mars. It recently sent back pictures of the face on Mars with high-res images that detail what the mountain actually looks like and why it looks like a face with its peaks and valleys.

    Currently the Mars Odessey is on its way to Mars. It launched in April and its expected to arrive in October.

    Nasa has had it failures. But you can not learn without making failures. I am surprised at how much we have accomplished with so few failures. I was intrigued in what the polar lander could of told us about the polar cap on Mars. Is there water there? Maybe on another mission we will find out.

    But back on topic with Canada and their plans to reach Mars. I am all for it. Space exploration is a collaborative effort. It is in the benefit of all man-kind to explore space. We as a planet should be working together to explore space. Look at the International Space Station. We as a planet are working together to build a huge science lab in space. Why should we do this you ask? Well the answer is clear. The knowledge we gain from working together and from the knowledge we gain from the experiments will be used in getting Man/women to step foot on Mars.

    Let's not knock Canada's acheivments in space exploration either. The "Arm" is one of the biggest contributions to the space shuttle as well as the space station. I am still in awe of the "Arm" on the space station. The "Arm" is by far the coolest addition to the station.

    The "Arm" just doesn't pivot from a base point on the station. It has two hands on either end. One to hold on to the station and the other to perform the task at hand. But because the station is so big the "Arm" can "walk" end over end to the other side by the use of it hands. And that is Canadian innovation.

    I would like to see what Canadian innovation will be developed in the mission to Mars. I hope they do "wipe their faces in it" it will benefit all of us.
  • Dictionary.com [dictionary.com] defines exploration as:

    exploration \Ex`plo*ra"tion\, n. [L. exploratio: cf. F. exploration.] The act of exploring, penetrating, or ranging over for purposes of discovery, especially of geographical discovery;

    Is not the sending of these "robots" (aka probes) the act of penetrating or ranging over? Yes! So that means sending "robots" is exploration. Robots and unmanned probes can gather a lot of great information for the purposes of discovery again apart of the definition of exploration.

    What do you call the results we get from telescopes such as Hubble and Chandra? Those telescopes are in earth's orbit. Do they not explore the far reaches of space? Yes. Not all of what is done in Earth's orbit is developmental.

    As for the Appollo 17 comment...in your terms of exploration wouldn't the last exploration have been Appollo 11 because by Appollo 17 we have had already been to the moon.
  • True $500M is about $300M US, but that doesn't mean that a $500M Canadian project will be the same as if it cost $300M US. In Canada you pay Canadian prices, Canadian materials etc. Many things are cheaper to buy now in Canada.

    I'm not saying that it's as much as $500M US, I'm just trying to say you can't compare apples and oranges. Two economies can't be compared like that.

    (Oranges are better anyways)
  • by jackal! ( 88105 ) on Monday May 28, 2001 @10:49AM (#192750) Homepage
    I was surprized at the lack of details. When I see them comparing this announcement to Kennedy's announcement, I think it must be a manned mission. But for 500M? The Apollo program cost BILLIONs in the 1960s. There's no way Canada will put a person on Mars for 500M. When they talk about exploration they must be talking about probes and surveyors.

    This is too bad. Canada gets teased like all the time. They last thing they need is their space program making a statement that sounds like a 5-year-old saying, "I'm going to drive a truck like daddy!" and pulling out a small plastic toy.


  • A manned ship that could be self-sufficient for the required travel times would cost as much as a space station, because it would *be* a space station.

    Heck, it'd have to be better than a space station... or at least, better than the ISS. The ISS gets resupplied every two or three months. Fat chance on sending out a Progress halfway to Mars. :)

  • by wannabe ( 90895 ) on Monday May 28, 2001 @10:55AM (#192754)
    You just described a lot of amateur or volunteer software projects I've looked into.

    Could this be the first space program hosted on sourceforge?
  • by Capn_Sternn ( 95384 ) on Monday May 28, 2001 @11:23AM (#192756)
    Everyone seems to forget that Canada was actually the third space-faring nation, ahead of China, France, Great Britain, etc... It's not like we haven't been there before. However, I have to wonder what can be accomplished with 500M$.

    I am Dyslexic of Borg
    Resemblance is fertile
    Your ass will be laminated

  • ...our congress is now being run by Democrats who will block everything Bush tries to do, and Bush in turn will squash any democratic bills whatsoever.

    And that's a problem how?
  • What an incredible waste of money. The idea that Canada can do anything meaningful on its own in space is, well, really stupid is the best thing I can say about it. Better to put our money into a bigger pot with other countries and actually accomplish more than make work for downsized DND scientists.

    What do you want to bet the hq of this effort will be downtown Shawinigan?

    I'll be writing to my MP straightaway on this one.
  • Seems somewhat farfetched. Sure we have people, we have technology, but we don't have the government backing. Every four years, when we change from liberal to ...whatever, programs get squashed and the money dissappears. As a fine example, take a look at our rescue helicopters. They were on order and being built. We had an election and the order was cancelled, costing us millions in cancellation fees. For no reason other than that the new government didn't want to carry on a project from the old. About a year later the new government made a new order for cheaper and less capable choppers, at almost the same price! So if this happens to the mars mission, we'll be lucky to get to the moon.
  • I stand corrected! I had forgotten about the second arm!

    Hmm... two arms, now. I wonder if there's a giant Canadian robot on the way! Oooooh. Sneaky!

    Also, another erratum: My disclaimer should have said "This is humour." :)

  • Sure, they can put a man on Mars for $500 million. Those are U.S. dollars, so it's worth at least $3 billion Candian. Also, they'll use Tom Green, and nobody'll care if they bring him back. ;-)
  • There's a substantial "Mars underground" which claims that NASA's predictions of >$100 billion to go to Mars are basically bullshit. For a detailed breakdown, see the book "The Case for Mars" by Robert Zubrin. If the cost of a crewed mission to Mars is even down into the single-digit billions, $500 million Cdn. would be a substantial contribution. Of course, since such an effort would use a lot of off-the-shelf components and technology, and not produce a vast research and development boondoggle for G.W. Bush's aerospace industry buddies, it's unlikely to "fly".

    Whichever poster made the comment that the Canadian Mars program would be based in Shawinigan (our Prime Minister's home constituency) hit the nail on the head. The reasons we have not landed on Mars yet are primarily a) politics, and b) the small minded greed of our leaders.

  • Actually, they have an spaceport that you can read about here:
    http://www.gov.mb.ca/itt/trade/invest/bus_facts/ tr ans_infrastructure/spaceportcanada.html

    It's in Churchill, Manitoba, it's still low enough latitude to be able to launch to the ISS, it's in a remote location incase they have an "oopsie", and there is a major port and rail link to Churchill. And as a bonus, Churchill is the polar bear capital of Canada, so no pesky tourists!

  • First animal in space

    And before that, first living thing in space (a few plant specimens).

  • Well, the Americans found out that the space shuttle also costs more to launch then a rocket. The difference is that NASA is too stupid to accept it, as the shuttle has become such a symbol. Disposable rockets like the Ariane are much cheaper for the simple satellite and probe deployment missions that most launches are.
  • Yes will conquer Mars by spreading Canadian Culture (CanCult©):

    • The preferred drink will be Labbat's Fifty
    • TV will broadcast 24 hours of Red Green, old Hockey Broadcasts and Beachcomber episodes
    • The mission will definitively prove that duct tape is a universal adhesive
    • Hockey hair/mullets will be the hairstyle of choice
    And the inhabitants will bore the tears out of Americans by staging some silly referendum every 6 years.

  • This was covered in our local paper (The Ottawa Citizen; sorry, couldn't find an on-line article).

    Garneau had said that the only thing we couldn't do ourselves ("we" meaning Canada of course) is the launch vehicle. I don't quite see why.

    (And for those who were wondering, of course this is unmanned!! A manned mission would be totally cool, but Canada? All by herself? Not for a long while yet.)

    I can totally understand needing to secure a good (equatorial) launch site, but the vehicle? That's not really all that high-tech, is it?

    Anyone have any ideas why Garneau said this?


  • Actually, there were a few achievments that the US did get to first.

    I concede your points. I'm sure that if you try hard enough, anyone can come up with some kind of "first" for every space mission. It's a little subjective what you consider to be "major."

    But you have some very good ones.

    I also concede the point that the first man in space did orbit the Earth, so it was a bit disingenuous to split that in two. My mistake.


  • by DeadVulcan ( 182139 ) <`moc.xobop' `ta' `nacluv.daed'> on Monday May 28, 2001 @11:23AM (#192806)

    During the space race, the Soviets were able to compete (they didn't do terribly well, but they did at least compete)

    I disagree. The Soviets got the Americans beat on just about every major score except putting a man on the moon:

    • First satellite in space
    • First animal in space
    • First human being in space
    • First human being to orbit the earth
    • First unmanned probe on another planet
    • First permanent space station

    Not to cheapen the American accomplishment, mind you - putting a man on the moon was almost nothing short of a miracle.

    I guess Americans can claim the prize for first reusable spacecraft, too, although the Russians had something of the sort on the way, I understand. I don't know how far they got with it.

    The Americans surged ahead when unfortunate economics started to kick in for the Soviets.


  • by Steve Richards ( 211082 ) on Monday May 28, 2001 @06:33PM (#192821)
    Part of the reason that we haven't invested a lot of national effort into the space program during the past couple of decades is that there is no perceived reason to do so. The vast amount of innovation that took place during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs was primarily due to the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union. If the USSR had never existed, there would never have been moon landings, because the "godless commies" would not have been our competition. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the circumstances that motivated the US political right to invest heavily in space exploration ceased to exist.

    But if Canada begins to aggressively pursue space, this might change. Already, you are seeing conservative publications such as WorldNetDaily and commentators such as Rush Limbaugh lash out at Canada. If you turn on AM talk radio, you don't have to scan far to hear these people lecture their followers about the high incidence of atheism, homosexuality, feminism, Islam, etc. in our Neighbor to the North. Canada's socialist policies (and in particular, its national healthcare system) are constantly under attack from the right.

    So we find ourselves coming back full-circle. A nation, that is perceived by many to have Communist leanings, is starting to pursue space exploration. Couple that with the forays that the Chinese government is making into space, and you've got a political environment that might cause people to bump up NASA's budget and make its agenda more aggressive. It's unfortunate that we have to find ourselves in situations like this before we take space exploration seriously, but I am of the opinion that if that is what it takes, then so be it. We've neglected space for way too long .. it's time to jump back into it.
  • That's just by the manned program. There are also a few firsts by the US in the unmanned arena, including the first flybys of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. IIRC, the US was also the first to flyby Mercury, and to land on an asteroid.

    Yeh, I recall something like that. I think I saw a documentary about it a couple years ago. Weird thing is they sent up a couple of oil miners. It doesn't really make sense to me now, but I think they had a reason at the time.

  • Because Canada doesn't have anybody who is really an expert on building and operating launch vehicles, and the extra cost of pulling a team together and have them figure it out is much too much $$$. We build the probe, and hire someone else to shoot it up there.
  • by corvi42 ( 235814 ) on Monday May 28, 2001 @11:14AM (#192832) Homepage Journal
    You say:
    I'll believe it when I see it.

    Your sig says:
    Anything that can possibly happen, will eventually happen

    I love irony.

  • "Cosmocanucks" or "Canadanauts"?



  • A McPizza.

    "You think I'm kidding."
  • This is either one really bitter canuck, or a typical Yankee drone: 'Only the great USA can do it!' They laughed at the Canadarm too, at first.

  • Canada built some launchers of its own in the early sixties. That was uneconomic, in part, because of the higher latitude of any Canadian launch sites. Telesat Canada was created by an act of Parliament in 1969, and built the Anik series of satellites. The site below says:
    "Telesat's Anik A1, the world's first commercial, domestic communications satellite in geostationary orbit...

    Telesat Canada [gysmo.net]

  • by Aerog ( 324274 ) on Monday May 28, 2001 @11:07AM (#192869) Homepage
    I personally think that the plan to put something Canadian on Mars is a great idea, not only to enhance the reputation of Canada's space program on an international scene, but to also improve our facilities and techniques. Granted, I have serious doubts that it will be a manned mission for that kind of money, but the odds of possibly putting an unmanned probe on Mars are quite good, if only for a few reaons:
    • We are very used to the temperatures, in a country where the temperature can easily range anywhere from -40 to 40 in a single area of the country, and it can easily be colder or warmer elsewhere.
    • It's not like we're doing what Russia and the US did in the 60's. We have experience from all over the world to look back on and learn from.
    • If the Canadarm is any indication, Canadian space technology is fairly reliable.
    • No pesky conversions from/to metric.
    • The ability is there, just the funding is iffy.

    It might just be talk, but then again, people thought that Kennedy was crazy when he promised a man on the moon.
  • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Monday May 28, 2001 @10:36AM (#192872) Journal

    There is nothing of substance in the article - no mission plans, no dates, no nothing - just a catchy (and bilingual) slogan: Allons-y! Let's go to Mars, followed by a wish-list planning session. There's little about this to suggest that the maple leaf will be flying on Mars anytime soon. I'll believe it when I see it.

  • There is very little vapor between here and Mars. However, the sheer amount of nothing is a major obstacle. A little vapor might be just the thing to sustain astronauts in transit.
  • 10. Figure out how to make a space suit out of a hockey goalie uniform
    9. Decision: "Cosmocanucks" or "Canadanauts"?
    8. Have R&D figure out how to dehydrate beer and doughnuts
    7. Finally get around to renting "Mission to Mars"
    6. Find out if the Expos are willing to relocate to the Martian League
    5. Be the first to design a canoe-shaped space vehicle
    4. Screw it, eh? Let's go skiing at Whistler.
    3. Make sure the vending machines on Mars don't take American quarters
    2. Put Bob and Doug McKenzie into orbit
    1. Finish exploring Canada!
  • Reasons:

    1) It averages 40 below on Mars, that's a Canadian temperature if nothing else.

    2) The US wouldn't laugh at them so much if they beat us to a standard. I'm not so sure why we do now, but that's another issue.

    3) Send Tom Green there, damn I'd like to kill that guy.

  • The way I read it, they didn't announce that they are going to Mars; they said they'd like to and then they asked a bunch of people at a workshop to play "what if" and "plan" a mission to Mars.

    If you've ever been to these sort of workshops, you know what that means. A lot of people got to talk to other, mostly interesting people, and share a their enthusiasm for space, Canada, and (let's see, not Apple Pie, so probably hockey). I'll pet people wrote key points on over-sized post-it-notes. At the end they read their notes to each other, and clapped. I doubt if anyone did any math (or, if someone did, they did it quietly in a corner, while shaking their head).

    -- MarkusQ

  • by s4ltyd0g ( 452701 ) on Monday May 28, 2001 @11:09AM (#192889)
    They'll get all bogged down with referendums about how and when each rocket stage will seperate.
  • Uh, we have the same problem in the USA. In fact, we have it worse. Our president looks suspiciously like a chimpanzeee (take a look at www.bushorchimp.com) and our congress is now being run by Democrats who will block everything Bush tries to do, and Bush in turn will squash any democratic bills whatsoever.

    You think you have it bad because you can't decide on a space program. We're lucky if we can all agree on what "space" is! You think the idea of Canada as a spacefaring nation is laughable - I say that it's the idea of the US as a serious space power that is laughable. We're just coasting, not innovating.

  • I just had a thought...why not send resupply flights after a manned Mars spacecraft? If the manned ship didn't have to carry all its consumables, it could be made cheaper and smaller. Could they launch unmanned supply ships after the manned vessel? Some of those could be designed to go faster than the manned ship and overtake it every few months, while others could be sent on a different orbit to meet the manned vessel at Mars. We already have the technology to send fairly large payloads such as probes to Mars - could we do this?

  • That's a good point. Nice sig, by the way. :-)

The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of the group divided by the number of people in the group.