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Source: University of Toronto

Astronaut to land on campusHadfield to help with U of T Fall Campus Days festivities

October 26, 2006

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield will be on hand Saturday, Oct. 28 at Convocation Hall to unveil Canada’s new rover -- our country’s latest contribution to future Moon and Mars explorations.

In 1995 Hadfield served as mission specialist on NASA's second space shuttle mission to rendezvous and dock with the Russian space station Mir. He was the first Canadian to operate the Canadarm in orbit and the only Canadian to ever board Mir. In 2001 he again served as mission specialist on the space shuttle to deliver and install Canadarm 2.

Hadfield’s visit coincides with Fall Campus Days, an event that allows prospective students to tour the campus and offers faculties a chance to showcase their programs.

"We have big aerospace and planetary exploration programs on campus but a lot of people don’t think of this when they picture U of T -- but they will," said Carmen Marra, a third-year planetary science student. "We have the largest and most ambitious set of planetary scientists and the second-largest student aerospace program in the world, second only to the Americans."

Canada’s first-ever rover will perform under the aegis of U of T’s Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, which has put together a slate of speakers, including U of T alumnus Eric Choi of MDA Space Missions in Brampton, who will talk about his journey from university undergraduate to key player in the country’s burgeoning space exploration program. Professor Sabine Stanley will describe U of T’s planetary science program and how Canada’s youth can help make the discoveries that will change our view of the universe.

The rover that will be shown has been tested almost exclusively at the university’s aerospace institute in association with students and faculty of the space robotics lab under the direction of Professor Gabriele D’Eleuterio of aerospace and engineering science. At a metre and a half across, the rover, made of aluminum and titanium, is meant for extremely rough terrain.

"This kind of technology means that people such as myself can stay here in Canada for research and employment rather than going to work in the United States at NASA or overseas at the European Space Agency," Marra said. "We remain the only school in Canada that has launched our own student built satellite."

"We have the best researchers in Canada working here on campus," Stanley added, "and they all are very enthusiastic about working with students. In the last five years the university has made impressive hirings in this area showing a real commitment to this field."



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