An out-of-this-world mission hits just a little nearer to dwelling for one Saskatchewan group.
Tim Haltigin, initially from Canora, Sask, is main a science program design crew for the Mars pattern return marketing campaign, a decade-long mission that begins with the Perseverance rover touchdown.
The objective: retrieve four-billion-year-old rocks and soil samples from the Purple Planet.
“Rocks are unimaginable storytellers. They protect clues in regards to the setting through which they had been shaped,” stated Haltigin, the senior mission scientist for planetary exploration on the Canadian Space Agency.
“What we’re doing goes again in time and by three-and-half to 4 billion years to know precisely what the setting was like on Mars on the time and doubtlessly if life ever arose, as effectively.”
In principle, Haltigin says planning for pattern return began 40 years in the past. He has been getting ready for eight.
Perseverance launched in July 2020.
On Thursday, Haltigin and his household watched the rover land whereas just about celebrating with colleagues.
“It was so many feelings abruptly,” he stated.
“It was reduction, it was pleasure, it was elation after which it was the belief that we actually must get to work now.”
Based on NASA, Perseverance will spend at the least one Mars yr, or two Earth years, exploring the touchdown web site area.
By 2031, they hope to have the rock samples again on Earth.
Evening sky sparks area fascination
Haltigin grew up on a farm outdoors Canora, Sask.
Whereas he now lives in Quebec, the scientist credit his curiosity and the land of the residing skies for launching his profession.
“For those who drive 5 miles out of city and search for it’s this lovely blanket of stars that kind of bathes you,” Halitgin stated.
“Being on the farm, I might exit at night time and simply stare up and suppose what was on the market and the way can we discover it.”
It’s a dream come true for Haltigin.
He says if that younger, curious farm child may see himself now, he’d be in disbelief, however past proud.
“Now, right here we’re choosing a type of dots within the night time sky and doubtlessly bringing a chunk of it again to Earth. It’s actually unimaginable,” he stated.
However his youthful self isn’t the one one who’s proud.
Again dwelling in Canora, Haltigin’s household was fielding calls from the group expressing encouragement, help and pleasure on Thursday.
“It actually demonstrates how Saskatchewan is a group and we actually root for one another and cheer on one another’s successes,” Haltigin stated.
However his success is simply the beginning.
The way in which Haltigin sees it, it’s his job to retrieve these rocks, nevertheless it’s the following era of scientists who can be making the discoveries forty or fifty years down the street.
And a few of these scientists may not be born but.
“When one thing just like the Perseverance touchdown occurs, it’s an excellent reminder to children that the world that we reside in turns into what we wish it to be,” stated Ryan Holota, director of enterprise growth on the Saskatchewan Science Centre.
“As science continues to progress and as individuals discover and proceed to push these boundaries, the world goes to look so completely different sooner or later.”
And for many who can be main the best way, Haltigin has some recommendation.
“Science is about curiosity; it’s about having enjoyable; it’s about simply questioning,” Haltigin stated.
“If I used to be to say something to college students now, it’s simply by no means cease asking questions.”
NASA shares historic picture of Perseverance touchdown on Mars
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