Since Curiosity landed on Mars in 2012, the Canadian-built Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) has been studying the planet's rocks and soil. It has contributed significantly to some of the mission's top science breakthroughs, including the discovery that ancient Mars could have had the right chemistry for microbial life.
Through the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Government of Canada is investing up to $1.9 million over the next two years to support the operations of Canada's science instrument on board the Curiosity rover and its science team. This latest investment includes a contract worth up to $1.7 million awarded to the University of Guelph, which leads the APXS science team. Up to $325,000 of this amount will be subcontracted to the University of New Brunswick (Fredericton). The University of New Brunswick will also be receiving a separate CSA grant for $150,000 over two years to support operations and analyze data.
Canada's collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is aligned with the principles of Canada's Space Policy Framework: it strengthens strategic relationships with international partners in the interest of science and technology, positions our domestic space industry at the forefront of cutting-edge space activities, and inspires Canadians, particularly our youth, to aspire to careers in science, technology, engineering and math.