Space: a very Canadian frontier

Set your phasers to stunned. A different type of space geek graced Alberta’s soil as Dr. Marc Garneau talked about Canada’s space program on Wed., Jan. 22 at the U of C.

With relatively limited funding for the Canadian space program, Canadian scientists are forced to piggyback onto shuttles and satellites of larger space-faring nations. Regardless, we are still very much involved in space research.

“As we speak there are two Canadians orbiting the earth on an American shuttle,” said Dr. Garneau, a three time Canadian space explorer. “They are studying the effects of space on bone density as well as the growth of a certain kind of protein.”

Much of Canada’s space research is conducted on foreign satellites through international cooperation—they provide the space, we share our research.

Calgary has an important role in Canada’s space research, said Dr. Garneau.

“The U of C has a world class research program which connects with global navigation systems including GPS. The Canadian Space Agency will continue to work closely with the U of C.”

While most of Dr. Garneau’s lecture surrounded technical jargon and the specifics of the Canadian Space Agency, an interesting point about Canadian policy was raised.

In response to a question from an audience member regarding the weaponization of space, Dr. Garneau said Canada’s role in space should be peaceful.

“We as Canadians believe in using space for scientific purposes–most space faring countries have this in common,” said Dr. Garneau. “The American administration, however, has recently been discussing the weaponization of space–the Canadian government is strongly opposed to this.”

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