Canada Would Play A Crucial Role In The Upcoming Mars Missions, According To Dr. Robert Thirsk

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The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) posted a job ad in December 2018, willing to hire someone who can contribute with his/her medical expertise to the future human missions to Mars. CSA even said that Dr. Robert Thirsk is the ideal candidate for the job. Now, in an interview he gave for Yahoo Canada, Thirsk noted that Canada would play a crucial role in the upcoming Mars missions.

Dr. Robert Thirsk is a medical doctor and the only Canadian astronaut who spent more than 200 days in space, aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in 2009 during an extended mission.

“It is true that NASA has been talking to the Canadian Space Agency and other international space agencies about participation in the next phase of human space exploration to deep space — to an asteroid, to Mars — and the Canadian government is considering whether or not we can be involved,” said Dr. Robert Thirsk for Yahoo Canada.

Dr. Robert Thirsk Thinks That Canada Would Play A Crucial Role In The Upcoming Mars Missions

“By 2022, international space agencies led by NASA will begin to build a lunar gateway, a mini space station around the Moon. There is a need for robotics on the outside of that mini space station, as well as inside, and Canada has the technical capabilities and experience to contribute that. But as I mentioned, the Canadian government has to decide whether or not we can do that,” Thirsk continued.

According to Dr. Thirsk, humans won’t go directly to Mars as that would be a “too big step for us to take.” First, NASA and other space agency will build the lunar base and then, probably around 2033, the first human Mars missions will take off. Dr. Thirsk added that the future Mars astronauts are currently in high school or university, but missions to Mars are getting closer. “We need to make sure we properly prepare the technology and protocols for these future astronauts so that their missions will be successful and safe,” he said.

“In the area of medical technology capability, I’m kind of a visionary person, I think that Canada has the ability to play a leadership role here, and some of the noteworthy areas of strength in Canada in health care are in areas of medical diagnostics, artificial intelligence,” Thirsk noted before concluding that Canada would play a crucial role in the upcoming Mars missions.


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