Dr. Ed Cloutis was one of four Canadian university researchers to receive a funding grant from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to advance scientific knowledge of the Sun–Earth system, the solar system and the universe through participation in international science missions.
A Professor in The University of Winnipeg’s Department of Geography and Director for the Centre for Terrestrial and Planetary Exploration (C-TAPE), Dr. Cloutis is a co-investigator on the Mastcam-Z instrument on NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover.
“We are excited and pleased with the confidence that CSA has shown in us with supporting our ongoing activities related to the Perseverance rover. CSA’s support will allow us to become even more deeply involved in rover operations, acquiring science data as the rover moves across the Martian surface, and conducting supporting studies in Canada at Mars-like analogue sites,” said Dr. Cloutis. “Canada is fortunate to have a number of one-of-a-kind places where we can test out rover operations and learn more about the geology and habitability of Mars.”
In total, four grants totalling $493,081 were awarded by the CSA. The other three grant recipients were Dr. Wesley Fraser, University of Victoria, Dr. William J. Percival, University of Waterloo, and Dr. Livio Tornabene from Western University.
Dr. Cloutis and his team of UWinnipeg students, which includes Nathalie Turenne and Stephanie Connell, played a key role in testing some of the on-board camera technology, including the Mastcam-Z, which is responsible for the majority of Mars photos circulating online since the Perseverance rover landing in February 2021.
He’s an expert in planetary exploration, planetary science, and remote sensing, and has been a member of the Perseverance rover’s science team since they first proposed putting cameras on the rover in 2013. Dr. Cloutis is proud of UWinnipeg’s involvement in this mission and looks forward to many more years of supporting and participating in the mission as the rover continues to explore Mars looking for signs of past or present life.
About Dr. Ed Cloutis
Dr. Ed Cloutis has more than 25 years of expertise in earth and planetary remote sensing. His research focuses on developing new applications of remote sensing to explore the surface of the earth and planets in the solar system, both for geology and the search for extraterrestrial life.
He’s the Founder and Director of C-TAPE, a state-of-the-art lab dedicated to advancing planetary exploration and a member of science teams associated with a number of planetary exploration missions, including the NASA-led Dawn asteroid rendezvous mission, the NASA Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) rover, the NASA-CSA OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, and the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and ExoMars rover.