Richmond, B.C. - MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (TSX: MDA), a provider of essential information solutions, announced today that MDA engineers are preparing to support a Space mission which will look for evidence of water on Mars. As NASA's Phoenix spacecraft makes its final approach for a May 25th landing on Mars, engineers from MDA will support critical weather and robotics systems on-board the spacecraft from the mission operations center at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Canada's contribution to the US-led Phoenix mission is the meteorological weather station, which will play an important role in helping scientists to understand the Martian climate. The Canadian Space Agency contracted MDA in partnership with Optech to build the weather station. The weather station includes a light detection and ranging (lidar) instrument, three temperature sensors mounted on a 1.2 metre mast provided by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and a pressure sensor. York University leads the Canadian science team.
Immediately after landing, the weather station will be deployed to begin sampling the Martian atmosphere and tracking daily weather and seasonal changes. Throughout the three-month mission, these specialized instruments will measure temperatures at three heights near the surface, monitor the pressure and measure the quantities of dust and water vapour in the sky above the lander.
Steve Oldham, a vice president in MDA's Information Systems Group said 'We are proud that MDA is helping Canada be a part of a major international exploration mission. Advanced scientific instruments and robotics are trailblazers for human exploration missions for Canada's astronauts.'
Phoenix is the first science driven mission under NASA's Mars Scout program. The Phoenix lander is designed to examine the arctic site for potential habitability, to examine the history of water at the site, and to be the first to characterize the arctic climate.
Alliance Spacesystems, MDA's U.S. operation, also developed the robotic arm on Phoenix that will be used to trench the ice-rich soil on the Martian surface. The Phoenix arm extends Alliance's successful heritage of building robotics systems for exploration, exemplified by the Mars Exploration Rover robotic arms.
MDA provides advanced information solutions that capture and process vast amounts of data, produce essential information, and improve the decision making and operational performance of business and government organizations worldwide.
Focused on markets and customers with strong repeat business potential, MDA delivers a broad spectrum of information solutions, ranging from complex operational systems, to tailored information services, to electronic information products.
MDA employs more than 3,000 people in locations across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The Company's common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol TSX:MDA.
This release contains forward-looking statements and information, which reflect the current view of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. with respect to future events and financial performance. Any such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties and MDA's actual results of operations could differ materially from historical results or current expectations. Additional information on these and other potential factors that could affect MDA's financial results are detailed in documents filed from time to time with the applicable Canadian securities regulatory authorities.
The Toronto Stock Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved the form or content of this release.