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Request for Proposals for Analogue Research Studies in Canada and Abroad

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Tuesday, December 2, 2008

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The Canadian Space Agency has a mandate to increase knowledge of space through science. Terrestrial analogue research studies are an important element of that mandate as it applies to the exploration of other planets and the Moon. Analogue research studies help develop science questions, requirements, and expertise for future planetary exploration missions, and can be essential in developing knowledge of planetary processes from data returned by current and past missions.

Terrestrial analogues are places on Earth that approximate, in some respect, the geological and environmental conditions and/or setting(s) on Mars and other planetary bodies such as the Moon and the Solar System's icy moons, either at the present-day or sometime in the past. Terrestrial analogue scientific research activities focus on several areas as described in Section 2.1. These activities provide unique opportunities to further our scientific understanding of planetary bodies by studying and investigating processes on Earth. Studying biological processes in analogue environments also informs us on the diversity, resilience and limits of life on Earth, in turn providing clues to where to search for possible life elsewhere.

Terrestrial analogue studies can also be extremely valuable to future space missions, acting as testbeds for mission implementation and operations activities. This type of analogue activity can be classed as "exploration science", which includes instrument deployment and validation, psychology and group dynamics, operational space medicine, and planetary protection. Thus, analogue studies can also be used to develop and test specific technologies and to understand how to explore and live in a safe manner on other planets.

Canadian Space Agency (CSA), through a variety of consultations (e.g., workshops, advisory committees, discipline working groups), has confirmed that field-based analogue studies are a high priority area of research for the Canadian scientific community. Analogue activities are also of interest to several of our international Space partners. Thus, as part of its Planetary Exploration program, the Canadian Space Agency has developed the Canadian Analogue Research Network (CARN) that will enable Canadian and international scientists and engineers (including those from the Canadian Space Agency) to carry out activities at analogue sites in Canada. Three CARN sites were selected in 2005 through the "Request for Proposals (RFP) to Provide Logistical and Engineering Support Services for Analogue Research Studies in Canada". The selected sites are:

  • Haughton-Mars Project Research Station (HMPRS), Devon Island, Nunavut, 75o 22' N, 89o 41' W.
  • McGill Arctic Research Station (MARS), Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, 79o26' N, 90o46' W.
  • Pavilion Lake Research Project (PLRP), British Columbia, 50o51'N, 121o44' W.

In addition to the CARN sites listed above, there are several others throughout Canada and abroad, both on land and under the water that are proven or proposed analogues. This RFP is targeted toward studies at these other analogue sites than the three sites listed above.

For RFP information please visit: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/ao/ss_current.asp

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