Putting imaginations into orbit
Posted Wednesday, October 14, 2009 8:41 AM
Above: Astronaut Roberta Bondar.

Astronaut Roberta Bondar spoke to high school and university students at the University of Manitoba on Oct. 14 to inspire budding scientists about careers in  aerospace.

Bondar entertained an invitation-only audience in Room 370 of the Helen Glass Building on the Fort Garry Campus.

Keith Wilson, a U of M medical student and one of the two Manitobans who made the final 16 list during the last astronaut recruitment, will also attend the event.

Roberta Bondar earned international prominence in 1992 when she joined the crew of the space shuttle Discovery and became the world’s first neurologist sent into orbit. Globally recognized for her contributions to space medicine, she continued as head of an international space medicine research team working with NASA for more than a decade, finding new connections between zero-gravity environments and neurological illnesses such as stroke and Parkinson's disease.

The event was hosted by the Faculty of Engineering, the Life Sciences Association of Manitoba, the Canadian Space Agency, the Manitoba Aerospace Human Resources Coordinating Committee and the WinCube Program, a project that involves undergraduate and graduate students in the development of a satellite that’s slightly larger than a Rubik’s cube and may one day detect earthquakes from low orbit.

Employment opportunities aside, other space topics to be discussed include: what Canada’s role is in outer space, Manitoba’s contributions in aerospace, the astronaut program and the WinCube project.

Canada continues to be one of the most active nations in space with research activities on the shuttles, the International Space Station and research on the ground to support space activities.  At the University of Manitoba, Engineering Professor Jack Cahoon has flown several times with Bondar in the “Vomit Comet” during his research on gravity level effect on grain refinement, and one of his microgravity projects flew on the space shuttle Endeavour and was tested on the MIR Space Station.

Professor Witold Kinsner’s students have also flown on the Vomit Comet in France to test an electromechanical subsystem developed at the University of Manitoba and McMaster University for Space Mail, a project examining ways to bring payloads from low-orbiting satellites to the ground without rockets.

For more information, contact:
Sean Moore
Communications Officer
Marketing Communications Office
Phone: (204) 474-7963