Melissa M. Battler
Featured Speaker: Mars on Earth
Preparing to explore the red planet through simulations in the Canadian Arctic
How should we prepare for human missions to the Moon and Mars? Mission simulations are a great way to learn about the capability of the human mind and body in isolation, as well as how to explore and conduct scientific research in uncharted territory. During the summer of 2007 Melissa led a four month Mars mission simulation on Devon Island, an uninhabited island in the Canadian Arctic. Her crew of 7 Canadian and American scientists and engineers lived in a mockup Mars habitat called the “Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station” (FMARS), and carried out 22 research projects all while operating as if we were on the surface of Mars. She has participated in several other simulated Moon and Mars missions since. In this talk she will discuss similarities and differences between the Earth and Mars, some possible benefits of exploring our neighbouring planet(s), and will describe her experiences in the Arctic.
Melissa Battler is a Ph.D. candidate at Western University's Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX), where she is studying the mineralogy of Arctic cold spring deposits and their potential for the preservation of biological material on Earth and Mars. She holds an Honours B.Sc. in Earth Sciences from the University of Waterloo and a M.Sc. in Geology from the University of New. During the summer of 2007 Melissa led a four month Mars mission simulation on Devon Island in the Canadian High Arctic. She has also served on six crews at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Southern Utah from 2003 until present, and in 2007 won the "Tuna Can Award" for most time spent on analogue Mars. She co-founded Mars Society Canada’s "pre-astronaut” training program, Expedition Mars, and worked with the similar NASA Spaceward Bound program at MDRS. She has been a Canadian Space Agency Student Ambassador for 8 years, and is founder of and advisor to several local and national space advocacy groups in Canada. Her goals include promoting space exploration activities within Canada and throughout the world, inspiring and training future astronauts, and continuing her search for evidence of life on Mars, preferably as an astronaut herself.
Title: The Next Generation Canadarm
Canada has a long and storied heritage of world-class robotic technologies and operational experience. Throughout three decades as the workhorse of NASA's space shuttles, the original Canadarm epitomized the value of robotics and human collaboration, while Canadarm2, with its two-armed robotic handyman Dextre, is an indispensable mainstay in the construction and maintenance of the International Space Station. Building on this legacy, the Next-Generation Canadarm (NGC) is the futuristic centrepiece of Canada's next step in advanced space robotics. Whether the destination is low-Earth orbit or the Moon, Mars and the uncharted territories of other planets and asteroids, future spacecraft and satellites will require supporting service systems that are lightweight, cost-effective and capable of performing intricate missions in a forbidding environment. To meet those challenges, MDA of Brampton, Ontario, is developing prototypes of an integrated set of NGC components that will simplify repairs and perform other anticipated tasks for a variety of future missions that range from even deeper explorations of space by humans to galactic probes by robotically autonomous astronomy satellites. http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/canadarm/ngc.asp
Leif Bloomquist P.Eng. is a Senior Software Systems Engineer in the Space Missions group at Macdonald, Dettwiler, and Associates (MDA) in Brampton, Ontario. He holds an Honors B.A.Sc. in Systems Design Engineering from the University Waterloo, with a focus in Intelligent Systems. He began his career developing semi-autonomous robotic vehicles for the underground mining industry and holds four patents in this field. Since joining MDA he has been involved in the development of nuclear reactor inspection robots, ground control software for the meteorological instruments aboard the Phoenix Mars Lander, and the Graphical User Interface for the Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator (SPDM) aboard the International Space Station. He is the Technical Lead for the Next Generation Canadarm Mission Operations Station component.
Title: Recent Discoveries in Astrophysics from the Ground and from Space
Using sensitive instruments on large telescopes, astronomers work to answer some of the biggest questions mankind has ever posed. In the past 100 years, through careful observation and analysis, we have learned a staggering amount about our Universe. Recent highlights include the discovery and characterization of hundreds of planets outside our own solar system; direct observation of the early stages of star and galaxy formation; and the existence of supermassive (billions of suns) black holes at the centre of most, or all galaxies. Observations taken directly from space have numerous advantages, including clearer images and access to a much wider range of energies than we can see from the ground. I will introduce CASTOR, a concept for a Canadian-led space telescope that would act as a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, providing the ability to obtain similar images over much larger areas of the sky.
Michael Balogh is an associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo. He received his Honors B.Sc. degree in Mathematics and Physics from McMaster University in 1995, and his PhD in Astronomy from the University of Victoria in 1999. He then worked as a research fellow at Durham University in the UK, until returning to Canada to the University of Waterloo in 2004. His research interests include the formation and growth of galaxies, and large scale structure in the Universe. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Gemini Observatory, Canada's largest optical telescopes, located in Chile and Hawaii. He is also a member of the Canada Space Telescope (CASTOR) Mission Concept Science Team.
Danya Hudson, PhD
Title: Quantum Distribution of Encryption Keys: The QEYSSat Mission
Advancements in computer technology, including the advent of quantum computers, will enable cracking of encryption keys which today are considered secure. This means that new encryption keys will be required much more often than they are today. Key distribution (transmission of a key to the two parties who need to communicate) has always been a security challenge for any secure system. Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is a method to provide new encryption keys to both parties with a guaranteed level of security, with new keys being available as often as the user requires. The key distribution is provided by means of a single photon optical link, and it is the single photon which ensures security. However, transmission of a single photon through fibre or air has a limited range. Satellites can be used to overcome this limitation, enabling the distribution of encryption keys over long distances. QEYSSat is a proposed microsatellite mission currently under development for the Canadian Space Agency at COM DEV Canada, in partnership with the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo. The primary mission objective is to demonstrate Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) using a quantum link from ground to space. The satellite will also provide a platform for the physics community to study properties of particle entanglement that cannot be tested on ground. This presentation will introduce the audience to QEYSSat, describing both the QKD concept and the mission design. This includes the overall system, details of the satellite and payload, challenges to overcome for the achievement of the quantum link, and the current status of the technology development.
A fascination with space at an early age led Danya Hudson to study Physics & Astronomy at the University of Victoria, but by graduation she had decided to move to the more applied field of Aerospace Engineering. She completed her Master’s at the University of Texas at Austin while working on the GRACE twin satellite geodesy mission, followed by a PhD at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris, France) where she worked on the development of an electrostatic accelerometer for testing the Equivalence Principle in space. Since graduating in 2007, Dr. Hudson has worked in satellite systems testing at Thales Alenia Space (Cannes, France), and satellite mission development at COM DEV (Cambridge, ON). As a member of the COM DEV microsatellite missions group for two and a half years, she has enjoyed the opportunity to contribute in a variety of capacities to many projects, ranging from feasibility studies, to design analysis, to pre-flight testing. This includes the role of mission Technical Lead for the proposed Quantum Entanglement and Science Satellite (QEYSSAT) program.