Astronaut Bob Thirsk launches Mission to Mars with school kids, educators and Ontario tomatoes

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Thursday, November 28, 2002

Kick-off to a Canada-wide 2-year space education program Begins in Toronto, Ontario in the Canada Life Environmental Room

TORONTO, Nov. 28 /CNW/ - When the first manned space ship leaves Earth for Mars chances are the astronauts will be growing and eating Canadian tomatoes in space. In preparation for that voyage, Canadian astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk will be in Toronto on December 3rd to give a 10:30 am briefing to 20 school kids and to enroll them in Tomatosphere "Mission to Mars", a cross-Canada research / education program.


  • Dr. Robert Thirsk - Canadian Space Agency Astronaut, CAPCOM Mission Control Centre, Houston, Texas
  • Dr. Mike Dixon, University of Guelph, Associate Professor and Head of the Horticultural Science Division
  • The students and teachers from the Toronto Catholic School Board, Peel District School Board and Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board


Dr. Robert Thirsk and Dr. Mike Dixon will talk to the students about space farming on the Red planet. They will enroll the students in a research program called Tomatosphere, "Mission to Mars," in which children from 5,000 classes across Canada will engage in hands-on experimentation with Heinz tomato seeds exposed to a simulated Martian environment.


When man begins long term space travel, tomatoes will be an excellent source of food as well as helping to maintain the atmosphere in the closed environment. The project offers students the opportunity to engage in real and relevant science inquiry and expand their knowledge of science through the exploration of space and plant agriculture.


Tuesday, December 3, 2002 11.00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. ET


Environmental Room Level 1, Canada Life Building 180 Simcoe Street, Toronto


Interviews with Bob Thirsk, Mike Dixon, the students and representatives from the Canadian Space Agency, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Heinz Canada, and the Centre for Research in Earth and Space Technology (CRESTech).

Tomatosphere "Mission to Mars" is a national educational outreach program sponsored by The Canadian Space Agency, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Heinz Canada, the Centre for Research in Earth and Space Technology (CRESTech), and the University of Guelph.

For further information: or to arrange interviews, please contact: Anna Relyea, Heinz Canada, Communications Manager, Office: (416) 226-7587, Cell: (416) 708-2644,

// end //

More news releases and status reports or top stories.

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.