Sudbury, Ontario, March 7, 2002 – The Northern Centre for Advanced Technology
Inc. (NORCAT) today demonstrated Canadian drilling technology that could be
used in a future mission to collect samples on Mars. NORCAT is conducting a
feasibility study for the Canadian Space Agency on how Canadian expertise in
mining could play a role in exploring the red planet.

“NORCAT is a multiple success story in applied innovation. Not only has it
developed a new robotics mining technology which will allow for safer
operations underground but it has gone further to pioneer a drilling
platform for Mars exploration,” said Minister of Industry Allan Rock.
“NORCAT is a model for all of Canada on how to find new markets and
commercialize quickly the results of research and development.”

“Here we see Canadian innovation at its best–adapting traditional drilling
technology for the exciting goal of scientific discovery on Mars,” said the
Honourable Andy Mitchell, Secretary of State (Urban Development) (FedNor).
“I applaud NORCAT and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for making Sudbury a
key player in this inspiring and forward-looking effort.”
“The technological legacy of Sudbury miners may well prove to be a
pioneering heritage on Mars,” added Diane Marleau, Member of Parliament for

“I am proud to see Canada and Sudbury leading the way in technology
development for space exploration,” said Raymond Bonin, Member of Parliament
for Nickel Belt.
CSA President Marc Garneau, whose vision for Canada’s Space Program includes
important contributions to Mars missions, said: “This decade Canada would
like to play a major role in a scientific mission to Mars using Canadian
technology. We are working with our international partners to determine the
most appropriate role for Canada in future Mars missions.”
NORCAT CEO Darryl Lake added, “Canada has long been a leader in mining
technology development. Developing technology for Mars exploration will
allow Canada to maintain its international reputation and world leader
status. The technologies under development will enhance and further enable
the Canadian mining exploration industry to remain globally competitive.”

The CSA is laying the groundwork for the teaming of proven Canadian
expertise in mining technology, as found in Sudbury, with proven Canadian
space robotics technology led by MD Robotics. This approach responds to
scientific goals identified by space scientists in Canada to study what lies
underground in the search for water and life on Mars. Extensive consultation
with the science community has taken place at annual CSA-sponsored workshops
and at a recent brainstorming session in Toronto sponsored by Ontario’s
Centre for Research in Earth and Space Technology (CRESTech).

About the Canadian Space Agency

Established in 1989 and headquartered in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, the Canadian
Space Agency coordinates all aspects of the Canadian Space Program. Through
its Space Knowledge, Applications and Industry Development business line,
the CSA delivers services involving: Earth and the Environment; Space
Science; Human Presence in Space; Satellite Communications; Generic Space
Technologies; Space Qualification Services and Youth Awareness. The Canadian
Space Agency is at the forefront of the development and application of space
knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.


The Northern Centre for Advanced Technology Inc. is a not-for-profit,
non-share corporation formed in partnership with Cambrian College of Applied
Arts and Technology in Sudbury, Ontario. NORCAT assists the Province’s
mining and resource sectors by providing a single access point to companies
and entrepreneurs for training, technology transfer, and product
development. NORCAT helps its clients to develop unique processes and high
quality products.
The Government of Canada has launched a national strategy to build a more
innovative Canada – resulting in jobs and growth and a higher quality of
life for all Canadians. A key to innovation is research, which yields new
knowledge and creates new opportunities. The adapted drilling technology
demonstrated today by NORCAT is clearly one of these innovations that may
make an important contribution to Canada’s future involvement in Mars
exploration missions.

For more information on Canada’s Innovation Strategy:

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For more information:

Monique Billette
Media Relations Officer
Canadian Space Agency
Tel.: (450) 926-4370
Fax: (450) 926-4352

Darryl Lake
Executive Director and CEO
Sudbury, Ontario
(705) 521-8324 ext. 211

Linda Wilson
Director, Marketing and Institutional Relations
Cambrian College
Tel.: (705) 524-7387