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Canadian experiment keeps astronauts safe

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Monday, October 22, 2001

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) today announced Canada's latest space life science initiative, the Extra-Vehicular Activity Radiation Monitor (EVARM) experiment. Developed by Ottawa's Thomson Nielsen with funding from the CSA, EVARM will be used to measure the amount of radiation that astronauts receive while on a spacewalk, or extra vehicular activity (EVA).

"Radiation is an important variable in extra-vehicular activities," said CSA astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to perform an EVA. "EVARM will provide information on radiation exposure that will help in the planning of future EVAs, enhancing the safety of astronauts working in space. I congratulate Thomson Nielsen on this innovative technology."

In order to measure radiation levels during the spacewalk portion of a mission, small electronic badges will be placed inside astronaut EVA suits. The devices will record the amount of radiation reaching various locations on an astronaut's body while he or she works outside the shuttle or the International Space Station.

"We are proud that our technology will be able to help resolve long unanswered questions regarding EVAs and space radiation," said Ian Thomson, the President of Thomson Nielsen and the Principal Investigator of EVARM. "Moreover, our work will not only help astronauts, but people on Earth as well. We have already used the technology behind EVARM in the development of a radiation monitor that can be used by medical practitioners for cancer patients."

The EVARM equipment hardware will be carried to the International Space Station during NASA's next space misison STS-108, scheduled for launch on November 29, 2001. The actual experiments will be conducted during subsequent missions.

About the Canadian Space Agency

Established in 1989 with its headquarters situated in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, the Canadian Space Agency coordinates all aspects of the Canadian Space Program. Through its Space Knowledge, Applications and Industry Development business line, the CSA delivers services involving: Earth and the Environment; Space Science; Human Presence in Space; Satellite Communications; Generic Space Technologies; Space Qualification Services and Awareness. The Canadian Space Agency is at the forefront of the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.

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A backgrounder on the EVARM experiment is available at: www.space.gc.ca/evarm .

For more information:

Carole Duval
Media Relations, CSA
Tel.: (450) 926-4451

Mairi Miller
Marketing Manager, Thomson Nielsen
Tel.: (613) 596-4563

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