2002

The Foundation gave awards in 2002 with a total of $2,500

A search for the origins of the Earth
Category : Study of the effects of the space environment on the Earth’s environment
Institution : Universities of Regina, Western Ontario and Calgary, Canada

Meteorites are rocks that originate from the formation of the Solar System or come from other planets. This unusual Canadian collaboration, involving the Universities of Regina, Western Ontario and Calgary will try and track down new meteorites across the Canadian prairies. This region of Canada is relatively rock free and the soils have been exposed for 10,000 years (since the last ice age to reach Canada). Meteorites are therefore quite conspicuous. The group will hunt new samples, examine them and publish them in the scientific literature, representing an important Canadian contribution to our understanding of the nature of the Solar System

End of the dinosaurs
Category : Study of the effects of the space environment on the Earth’s environment
Institution : The Planetary Society, USA

Sixty-five million years ago an asteroid hit the Earth with such energy that it left a 120-km crater in the ground and may have contributed to the death of over 75% of all the species on Earth, including the dinosaurs. In 1996 the Foundation helped fund a Planetary Society expedition to Belize to collect samples from the material ejected from the impact. This year it helps the Society travel to Argentina to fill in a large gap in our knowledge of what happened in South America during this calamitous event, an event which illustrates the important role the space environment has had on biological evolution on Earth.

Coral reefs near Madagascar
Category : Use of space technology to map the Earth’s environment
Institution : University of Edinburgh, Scotland

This year the Foundation funded two expeditions using space technologies to help study coral reefs. This expedition, studying corals in Western Madagascar under the International Coral Reef Initiative, will seek to get the corals reefs of Madagascar preserved as a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, using GPS (Global Positioning Systems) and GIS to map the corals by means of underwater transects carried out by divers.

Coral reefs near Tanzania
Category : Use of space technology to study the Earth’s environment
Institution : University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Satellite mapping and GPS will be used to map the unexplored reefs off the coast of Zanzibar in a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and the Institute of Marine Sciences in Tanzania. These reefs, like all coral reefs, represent an important location of marine biological diversity.

The impact of a large new dam
Category : Use of space technology to study the Earth’s environment
Institution : University of Southampton, UK

The great Three Gorges Dam is one of the largest dams in China. Landsat images and GPS will be used to examine the human and environmental impact of the development. Landsat images will be compared to those ten years ago to determine vegetational changes and this will be supplemented with ground surveys undertaken by the team. Over 1.2 million people have already been displaced by the dam and as well as determining effects on vegetation, the expedition will also seek to understand the human impact of the dam.