Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

May 07, 2001

U of G to open centre to support deep-space missions

Now that Canada’s robotic arms are doing their jobs in orbit, a new element of the country’s space program – sustaining life in space – is about to be launched.

The plant science world’s most sophisticated hypobaric (reduced pressure) chamber will be introduced at the University of Guelph May 14. It will allow researchers to study the contributions of plants in supporting human life during long-term space missions such as that to Mars. Its unveiling will be part of the official opening of the University’s Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility. Media are invited to attend the opening, tour the facility and speak with scientific representatives from various international space agencies.

Date: Monday, May 14
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Place: University of Guelph’s Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility

The facility, headed by plant agriculture professor Mike Dixon, is unique in the world in the field of advanced life support. It will have the top Canadian technology in controlled environment systems research, eventually containing 14 hypobaric chambers that allow plants to be grown under variable pressures and atmospheric conditions such as those encountered in extraterrestrial habitats. The $7.9-million research facility was funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation; Ontario Innovation Trust; Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Centre for Research in Earth and Space Technology, an Ontario Centre of Excellence; as well as numerous industrial supporters.

To celebrate the opening, representatives from several international space agencies will be in Guelph May 12 to17 to discuss the future of advanced life-support research. They include the Canadian Space Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, European Space Agency, and National Space Development Agency of Japan.

For questions, contact Lori Bona Hunt, Media Relations Officer, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 3338.

For media questions, contact: Communications and Public Affairs, 519-824-4120, Ext. 3338.

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