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December 14, 2006 5:59 PM   Subscribe

The government of Canada has just turned down a request that would have seen Canada build the European Space Agency's Mars Rover, even though no additional funding was required. Saying it hasn't made up it's mind about the future of Canada's space role, the government has also let the position of president of the Canadian Space Agency remain vacant for more than a year (after Marc Garneau resigned to run for the Liberal party. The decision has left the ESA scrambling to find a new partner and already has some wondering whether the uncertainty will lead to another Avro Arrow-esque brain drain.
posted by Zinger (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
* sarcastic golf clap *

Nice job Mr. Harper and lackeys.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 6:07 PM on December 14, 2006


"has some wondering"

Who?

Ranked on the list of national priorities, does this even crack the top 50?
posted by docgonzo at 6:12 PM on December 14, 2006


It's a truism that one can only make up one's mind if one has a mind to start with.
posted by clevershark at 6:16 PM on December 14, 2006


Maybe Harper is just spaced out.
posted by jimmythefish at 6:32 PM on December 14, 2006


Really, one gets the idea that what Harper wanted was to form a government, without having much of an idea what he was going to do with it, so now that he has a government he pretty much has to figure out what to do with all these agencies and departments (like, say, environment) that he's pretty much given no thought to previously.
posted by clevershark at 6:42 PM on December 14, 2006


Why the hell would we want to study Mars when there is so much equivalent territory in our own back yard? Barren, deslolate, foreboding . . . say a place like Iqaluit or Windsor.
posted by isopraxis at 6:58 PM on December 14, 2006


"say a place like Iqaluit or Windsor"
...One more hostile than the other.

News like this just makes me angry. People wonder why so many look to the south of the border as a place to make ones fortune.


What's even more frustrating is that a decision like this probably won't even make into the next question period. The ramifications of a brain drain should be discussed and debated by Layton and Dion, and these guys should prod the Conservatives with the same vigor as when they bug them about the environment. Right now, all we have are simple stupid questions from the Liberals about scandals that happened on the last Government's watch. Move on. Canada needs a real leader.


Also: were there any statements from the government as to why they didn't support it? It'd be interesting to hear their rationale.
posted by phyrewerx at 7:10 PM on December 14, 2006


It's ironic that when the new Canada Research Chair in Planetary Science was announced, the same MP - Maxime Bernier - who canned this rover said -

“The important investments made in university research have re-energized our campuses and given the country's top researchers — our Canada Research Chairs — the support they need to fully realize their innovative ideas"

The mind boggles.
posted by phyrewerx at 7:16 PM on December 14, 2006


Why the hell would we want to study Mars when there is so much equivalent territory in our own back yard? Barren, deslolate, foreboding . . . say a place like Iqaluit or Windsor.

It's funny you should say that.
posted by Zinger at 7:29 PM on December 14, 2006


Isn't there a big area around Sudbury that could be used to replicate a desolate uninhabited planet?
posted by clevershark at 8:17 PM on December 14, 2006


Uh, that is Sudbury, clevershark.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:30 PM on December 14, 2006


Nice. NASAs slowly decomissioning itsef (while loudly announcing unfunded projects which will never happen) and now ESA is in trouble. Things are not looking good for space...
posted by Artw at 8:39 PM on December 14, 2006


Our goobermint is teh dumbs.

I implore any near-by MeFi users to pick up a clue-by-four and give our ol' PM a forty few whacks with it, kthx.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:47 PM on December 14, 2006


The project required no additional funding from Ottawa, but was contingent upon $100 million over 10 years from the existing CSA budget being redirected to the program by restructuring priorities and cancelling or postponing other projects

Describing this as "requiring no additional funding" strikes me as a bit odd.
posted by jeffj at 11:53 PM on December 14, 2006


Hey, China and India! Nows the time! Do cool space stuff!
posted by Artw at 12:37 AM on December 15, 2006


Jeffj, if the CSA in aggregate has more than $100 million assigned to them from 2006 to 2016, then it's a great deal for Canada. Think of all the external benefits the country would gain.

I think the article is implying that no additional funding was required from the federal budget.
posted by phyrewerx at 12:50 AM on December 15, 2006


Long gone are the days of the CanadArm, eh? Sigh.
posted by antifuse at 1:20 AM on December 15, 2006


I can appreciate that people think space is cool and rockets are fun but I would far rather have the Canada Research Chairs than a one shot deal at a robotic rover fetching space rocks.

The top quality research chairs will reinvigorate Canadian universities. They are already attracting quality international researchers who will spend the rest of their time in Canada, hopefully their entire careers, training new Canadian researchers.

Faced with a choice between investing in research/educators and funding private industry robotic/aeronautics I choose the educators. If in fact that was the choice being made.

That said, clearly the space/aeronautics's industry donated to the liberal party and not the conservatives. I suspect that there will be announcements of oil industry research subsidies soon to follow.

I am also surprised that the CBC felt the need to provide anonymity to the companies that were complaining about not receiving gov't largess. Who are these companies?

PS. Why link to the govt of Canada web page?
posted by srboisvert at 2:36 AM on December 15, 2006


I'm not defending the decision. It's just that if you have to cancel other programs to pay for this one, it's pretty misleading to say that it requires no additional funding.
posted by jeffj at 4:07 AM on December 15, 2006


A great nation refuses to step up to the crease and demonstrate its excellence. Sad.
posted by The Salaryman at 5:47 AM on December 15, 2006


It's just that if you have to cancel other programs to pay for this one, it's pretty misleading to say that it requires no additional funding.

That's the thing though, we don't know enough about what programs would have needed cancelling in order for this to go through. I don't even know what the CSA *does*.
posted by antifuse at 6:38 AM on December 15, 2006


than a one shot deal at a robotic rover fetching space rocks

It's not a one shot deal. Canadian expertise in this form of robotics is well known and this contract would have led to another, and another, and so on. And not just for space applications - there are plenty of terrestrial applications for this kind of technology as well.

And as for having Canada Research Chairs - well it's great to have one in planetary science, but you kind of need to put a toe into space to, you know, actually do planetary science.
posted by Zinger at 7:55 AM on December 15, 2006


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