York is a trusted partner on NASA missions. In fact, one of the University’s Organized Research Units, the Centre for Research in Earth and Space Science (CRESS), is at the forefront of planetary exploration and space technology.
With funding from the Canadian Space Agency, Professor John Moores (Lassonde School of Engineering, CRESS member and York Research Chair in Space Exploration) recently advanced the goal of understanding and measuring methane on the famous red planet, Mars.
The resulting white paper, “High-frequency near-surface gas measurement: an opportunity to solve puzzles in planetary atmospheric processes in Martian methane and beyond,” was the first of two papers submitted into the Planetary Decadal Survey (2020). The white papers will be published in the Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society. Ultimately, this research could help to shape NASA’s future ventures over the next 10 years.
Q: How influential is the Planetary Decadal Survey?
A: It brings together scientists from around the world who study planets and participate in robotic space exploration to put their best ideas into a single plan for what missions we hope to launch over the next decade.
A panel of senior scientists will read all the white papers and deliberate about how we should proceed. Major space agencies, notably NASA, look to the final document to guide their activities.
There was a robust response this year: 574 papers were submitted. There were others from York. Professor Isaac Smith, Canada Research Chair in Planetary Science, contributed as well.