Walter Natynczyk, a retired Canadian general and president of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), visited U of G April 11. He met with president Alastair Summerlee, administrators, deans and U of G researchers doing work with potential CSA applications.
Natynczyk toured labs in the physics building run by Profs. Ralf Gellert and Iain Campbell. Gellert was the lead scientist for the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS), which is mounted on the arm of Mars rover Curiosity, and for the APXS systems used on twin NASA rovers launched in 2003. Besides Gellert and Campbell, the team includes research associate Nick Boyd, graduate students Glynis Perrett and Scott van Bommel, and post-doc Irina Pradler.
Natynczyk also toured the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility headed by Prof. Mike Dixon. Dixon is working on a variety of initiatives that involve growing plants in space and in closed environments. This includes creating a growth chamber for the European Space Agency for testing as part of a new, multi-unit life-support system for either a mission to Mars or a lunar base.