Montreal scientist takes to skies over Ottawa to recreate the gravity of Mars - InfoNews

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Montreal scientist takes to skies over Ottawa to recreate the gravity of Mars

April 17, 2018 - 11:12 AM

MONTREAL - A Montreal university scientist took to the skies over Ottawa last month to recreate the gravity of Mars for a future unmanned mission.

Any visit to Mars involves trying to master its gravity, which is only one-third that of Earth and something that is difficult to replicate accurately.

But Concordia researcher Krzysztof (Chris) Skonieczny was able to do so — albeit very briefly — in early March.

His science mission was carried out with the help of a modified Falcon 20 jet, a small sandbox filled with simulated Martian soil and a prototype rover wheel.

Skonieczny and his National Resarch Council team wanted to see how the ExoMars rover mission in 2020 would be affected by the low gravity.

The Canadian-funded experiment took place during three days of what were described as roller-coaster rides.

The small aircraft made steep parabolic arcs which resulted in brief windows of low Martian-like gravity.

Skonieczny had roughly 30 seconds to carry out experiments and gather data.

Scientists with the European Space Agency and Roscosmos, the Russian space corporation, are hoping to avoid the perils that have affected previous rover missions to Mars.

In 2009, the wheels on the NASA rover "Spirit" became stuck in Martian sand and was immobilized for the rest of its mission.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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