Canadian schools to send robot to Mars

A group of Canadian universities wants to launch a mission to Mars in 2009.

The schools plan to use corporate funding to build a robot that will search for water and life on Mars, the Ottawa Citizen newspaper said Wednesday.

The spacecraft project, estimated to cost $20 million, would be entirely Canadian with headquarters at York University in Toronto, the newspaper said.

The Northern Light robot would be about 77 pounds. NASA's Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers are about 440 pounds each.

The Canadian Space Agency said it is not involved in the project at this time.

Partners in the Mars project include the Universities of Toronto, Waterloo, Winnipeg, Western Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Calgary, New Brunswick and Simon Fraser.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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