NASA mission promises most detailed images of Mars ever, says Delaney

Astronomer Paul Delaney, senior lecturer in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, talked about NASA’s next space mission to Mars, on CTV’s “Canada AM” and “CTV News” Aug. 11. NASA is sending a huge, two-ton spacecraft called the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Asked why scientists think they’re going to learn more from this than any previous mission, Delaney said, “When you’re going to a planet to try to understand every aspect of a planet in a very short period of time, with one satellite, you can’t do it.”

“We are going to see Mars in a way we’ve never seen it before, in terms of unprecedented clarity,” he said. This mission will be able “to image the surface detail so that we will be able to better protect and predict future missions” and “understand some more geological processes from orbit rather than actually having to get a spacecraft on the ground.” He said “the real wow images” will arrive seven months to a year from now. “They’re going to give us a lot more information that’s going to allow a lot more science. We’re chasing water. One of the things that we should never forget is Mars was once a very wet. But we don’t know how wet and we don’t how long it was wet. And those are very important questions to answer if we want to be able to address the issue of life on Mars, past, present, let alone future.”

Crystal meth drug policy aims to appease US, says prof

The latest shot in Canada’s war on drugs is a political gesture that will do little to curb the spread of crystal meth across the country, say critics of the government’s decision to increase maximum penalties for producers, users and smugglers of the drug, reported the National Post Aug. 12. “Apparently, one of [the US government’s] objectives, and this is unbelievably offensive, is to alter and modify Canadian criminal justice policy in relation to drugs,” said Alan Young, a professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and a marijuana advocate. “Whether or not this is part and parcel of that exercise I have no clue, but they’ve clearly stated this is the direction they want Canada to go in.” He suggested Canada’s approval of a US request to begin extradition hearings against Vancouver pot merchant Marc Emery, a close friend of Young’s who was arrested last month in Halifax, is another example of attempts to appease the Americans.

Evert kicks off Rogers Cup promotion

Chris Evert was in Toronto Thursday to promote the Rogers Cup and an aces-for-cash program for charity that has been set up for the women’s tennis tournament, reported The Toronto Sun Aug. 12. It was Evert’s legendary status, along with that of Monica Seles, that Tennis Canada drew upon for an exhibition doubles match with new Maple Leaf Jason Allison and former Leaf Darryl Sittler. The event was designed to draw attention to the Rogers Cup, which will take place next week at the Rexall Centre at York University, and American Express Aces Program, which will see the company donate $150 toward youth development through Tennis Canada for every ace that is served during the tournament.

  • CBC Radio’s “Here and Now” also reported the match as a kickoff for the Rogers Cup at the Rexall Centre at York Aug. 11.

Victims deserve help

Surely the author of an Aug. 9 letter to the editor cannot believe that a victim of an accident [such as the Air France crash] never deserves compensation, wrote Joshua J. A. Henderson, a third-year student at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in an Aug. 12 letter to The Record of Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo. Is it so hard to believe that some of the victims in the Air France crash will suffer emotional breakdowns or post-traumatic stress disorder? he asked. Should they be forced to bear the cost of this psychological disorder alone? Without lawyers acting on their behalf, it is unlikely Air France will offer them fair compensation for the harm they suffer, he wrote.

Fine arts alumni in the news

York theatre and film students and grads are making news:

  • York 2001 theatre grad Anne Meighan and Lori Distel, the founders of Nova Stage, want to give Cambridge audiences something different, reported The Record of Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo Aug. 12. “To me, it’s taking the chance and doing something weird, not a farce or a Christmas show,” Meighan said. “You can do weird without being so arty that people don’t know what’s going on.” Saturday, they were to perform the Canadian premieres of two, one-act plays outside the Cambridge Centre for the Arts.
  • Christopher Nash‘s dark comedy, Day of John, is one of 44 films that made the cut for the Toronto International Film Festival’s Short Cuts Canada program, reported Canadian Press Aug. 11. The 16-minute film’s acceptance to the festival, which runs Sept. 8 to 17, is sweet vindication for the native of Desbarats, Ont. ”I always had faith in the work,”  the fourth-year York University fine arts student said of the project that was graded D-plus. ”I knew the story I had was a good one.” More than 500 films from across the country were submitted for consideration.