With funding from corporations, a group of universities
in Canada are hoping to build a robot for a mission to Mars.
The project, named
Northern Light, is shooting for a budget of $20 million
and has the goal of finishing the hardware in a year
(a tiny fraction of what a large agency like NASA would allocate).
Another year will be spent testing, then off to Mars late 2009, possibly
on a Soviet-built launch vehicle.
The goal: Look for water and life.
Group members currently include
Universities of Toronto, Waterloo, Winnipeg, Western Ontario,
Saskatchewan, Alberta, Calgary, New Brunswick and Simon Fraser.