Space Exploration Symposium 2014


Brought to you by ISSET and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - Edmonton Centre

Thursday, September 25, starting at 7:00 PM at Telus World of Science Edmonton

Friday, September 26, 2:00 - 6:00 PM on U of A North Campus, ETLC Solarium (map)


We are pleased to annouce our keynote speakers for our Annual Space Exploration Symposium: Kevin Cocco, CTO of Ardusat, a company that specializes in small satellites for educational purposes, and Prof. Steven Squyres of Cornell University, a prominent planetary scientist whose mission involvement includes Principal Investigator of the MER mission to Mars. More details below.

Mr. Cocco's talk will be preceded by University of Alberta researchers presenting the latest results of studies relating to small satellites, including the AlbertaSat project, miniaturization technology, and communications and controls.

Schedule details

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Telus World of Science Edmonton,11211 142 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5M 4A1

7:00 PM: Keynote talk by Steve Squyres

Friday, September 26, 2014

ETLC Solarium, U of A North Campus (map)

Posters will be available for viewing throughout the afternoon

2:00 PM: Symposium official opening, Walter Dixon (VP Research Office)

2:20 PM: Chris Robson and the AlbertaSat Team: Ex-Alta1: the First Full Satellite in Alberta

2:40 PM: Prof. Robert Wolkow: Atom-Scale Fabrication to Enhance Space Exploration

3:00 PM: Prof. Duncan Elliott: Accessible Space: Open Source Satellites

3:20 PM: Prof. Dan Sameoto: Vacuum and High Temperature Compatible Biomimetic Adhesives

3:40 PM: David Miles (PhD student) Studying Space Weather from Rockets and Satellites

4:00 PM: Prof. Chris Herd: Advances in Cryo-curation for Future Sample Return Missions

4:15 PM: TBD

4:30 PM: Coffee break/poster viewing

5:00 PM: Keynote talk by Kevin Cocco

Talk details

Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet

Steve Squyres

Thursday, September 25, 7:00 pm
Telus World of Science Edmonton,11211 142 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5M 4A1

In January of 2004, twin robotic explorers named Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars. Expected to last for 90 days, their mission has now gone on for more than ten years. Its objective is to search for evidence of past water on Mars, and to determine if Mars ever had conditions that would have been suitable for life.

To develop Spirit and Opportunity, a team of more than 4,000 highly motivated engineers and scientists overcame a host of technical challenges. The challenges were multiplied by an extraordinarily tight schedule that was driven by the motions of the planets. The talk will provide an up-to-date summary of the missions of Spirit and Opportunity, from their initial conception through their development, launch, landing, and operations on the surface of Mars.

Small Satellites, Big Opportunities

Kevin Cocco

Friday 26th September, 5pm
ETLC Solarium, U of A North Campus (map)

Speaker details

Steve Squyres


Steve Squyres' research focuses on the robotic exploration of planetary surfaces, the history of water on Mars, geophysics and tectonics of icy satellites, tectonics of Venus, planetary gamma-ray and x-ray spectroscopy. Research for which he is best known includes study of the history and distribution of water on Mars and of the possible existence and habitability of a liquid water ocean on Europa.

Dr. Squyres is the James A. Weeks Professor of Physical Sciences at Cornell University. He has participated in a number of planetary spaceflight missions. From 1978 to 1981 he was an associate of the Voyager imaging science team, participating in analysis of imaging data from the encounters with Jupiter and Saturn. He was a radar investigator on the Magellan mission to Venus, a member of the Mars Observer gamma-ray spectrometer flight investigation team, and a co-investigator on the Russian Mars '96 mission. Dr. Squyres is currently the scientific Principal Investigator for the Mars Exploration Rover Project. He is also a co-investigator on the Mars Express mission, and on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment. He is a member of the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer Flight Investigation Team for the Mars Odyssey mission, and a member of the imaging team for the Cassini mission to Saturn.

Kevin Cocco

coccoKevin Cocco recently became the CTO of Ardusat, an education technology company that provides the unique opportunity for students to run experiments on satellites.  Kevin is actively working with Ardusat’s partner smallsat company, Spire, building the systems that support running experiments on the education sensor payload on the satellites.  Kevin is the founder of SproutLoop, a development & consulting company based in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He formerly was the VP of IT at the Professional Education Institute where he led development of Interactive training platform, Marketing and Analytics technologies.  Prior to PEI he held several diverse positions during his 12 yrs. with Discover Card leading infrastructure and development teams providing analytics and business automation solutions across their national operations centers.  Kevin holds a BS Degree in Computer Science from Western Illinois University.

Return from Mars-ish.


Ross Lockwood (PhD student Physics) has returned after spending 4 months simulating life on Mars, by living on the side of a volcano in Hawaii.  The Hi-SEAS project aims to simulates living and working on the surface of Mars, with 6 researchers living in cramped conditions with little contact with the outside world.

For more information and media coverage, see:

ISSET and Bank of Canada Polymer Bill Launch

The Bank of Canada released the new $5 and $10 polymer bills on Thursday, November 7th and they chose the University of Alberta as the site of the Western Canadian regional launch of these new bills . 
ISSET was chosen by the Bank of Canada to participate in the unveiling of  the new five dollar bill, which has the CanadArm and Dexter on the reverse side of the bill.  Here are links to the CTV Edmonton News segment and the Edmonton Journal photos of the event:

Here is the link to the UAlberta News article for November 2013, by Jamie Hanlon entitled, "Taking UAlberta innovation to the bank".

The ISSET Students group and ABSat group, worked very hard to build a 1:1 scale model of the Ex-Alta1 CubeSatellite as the display for the $5 bill.  The Ex-Alta1 satellite project is the first satellite for the University of Alberta and for the province of Alberta.  Crowdsourcing to raise money for the Ex-Alta1 launch will start at the end of November 2013- watch for more updates very soon!

Welcome to ISSET

The Institute for Space Science, Exploration and Technology (ISSET) is a University of Alberta institute that embraces a variety of scientific and engineering disciplines related to the exploration of space. ISSET builds on long-standing institutional excellence in space research in order to take advantage of emerging, cross-disciplinary opportunities and to develop partnerships with other institutions, agencies and industry.

In addition, ISSET offers unique educational experiences for undergraduate and graduate students, and develops provincial capabilities in space research through educational outreach programs, visiting professor positions, workshops and scientific meetings.

ISSET has four core themes based on existing and emerging strengths at the University of Alberta within six Departments across two Faculties.

  • Microgravity science and planetary environment.
  • Space technology for instrumentation and robotics.
  • Planetary materials science.
  • Space physics and space environment.

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