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Spacesim is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to teaching people about space, as well as fostering a love and respect of the "final frontier." Explore our site to learn more about Spacesim, and we hope you enjoy your visit.


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Member News

Welcome to Spacesim.org!

About Spacesim

We welcome you to the official website of the Ottawa-Carleton Educational Space Simulation (OCESS for short).
— Informally called Spacesim, OCESS is a non-profit organization that promotes a greater understanding of space exploration and research in students of all ages.
— By conducting a 96-hour simulated mission to a chosen planet, moon, or asteroid, Spacesim strives to foster initiative and responsibility in its members, while instilling love and respect of space and science.
— Feel free to explore our site. There is always something new and interesting happening at Spacesim.org. Click on any of the links below to start exploring:
About Us: Contains information about Spacesim's Mission Statement, History, Contact Information and more.
Education: Features descriptions of space-related programs offered to school-children of all ages.
Archives: Contains information about past missions, downloadable files and images, and previous meeting minutes.
Mission: Features details about Spacesim's simulated mission to Mars in the 2007-2008 school year, as well as information about past missions
If you would like to visit our facilities on Albert St., please contact us. In the Downloads section you can find maps to help you get there.

Parents please read:
  - the Letter to Parents and
  - the more about space sim document.

Map of 440 Albert Street, ground floor
Our room is W027
Street map for 440 Albert St

The software suite

OCESS Procedures Manual (not updated)
OCESS Procedures Manual MSWord version

Subsim software for Europa ocean exploration
Notes for TRANSORB transfer orbit planning software.
Integrating software and hardware primer
Europa return planning document
Mission Iapetus planning document
Flight training(updated Jan. 12, 2015)
  • note the following changes to file names
    1. the training flight software (MC's flight mirror software) is now called mirror.exe
    2. the piloting software is called flight.exe
    3. start the hab engineering software with engSThab.exe
    4. MC telemetry software is telem.exe; MC engineering starts from this application
  • there are a number of changes to software that may alter the way some of the training procedures work
  • each of the specific training sessions has a pdf file which provides an overview the goals and procedures as well as specific instructions
  • the full-screen applications require WIN98 or XP to run
Parallax Software and Data (updated Nov. 2, 2012; updates to database and additional features in software, download and overwrite all files)

Oct. 27, 2015
Ottawa Carleton Educational Space Simulation
Mission 2016 Press Release

Mars One and the Possibility of Indigenous Life on Mars Based on Methane Gas Emissions

The first Mars One crew is ready to depart and begin the process of colonizing another planet. OCESS has been contracted to manage mission control services for the Mars One initial crew transit mission. The launch of the crew transit vehicle will take place in November of this year and will be completed prior to the launch of the OCESS mission in February of 2016. OCESS members are running simulations at this time to finalise the parameters for a 270-day, low-energy transfer orbit. OCESS will transfer mission control duties back to Mars One upon landing of the crew descent vehicle.

The OCESS 2016 mission destination also is the planet Mars. Recent observations have been made of methane plumes by the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity Rover) in Gale Crater*. Observations of larger methane clouds on Mars have been made by spectroscopy from telescopes on Earth and from satellites in orbit around Mars*. Given the degree to which these plumes are localised, their temporal variability, and methaneís short half-life in the Martian atmosphere, they must indicate active methane production in or on the surface of Mars*.

While there are many abiotic geological processes that could generate large quantities of methane gas, this gas also is a common byproduct of biological activity*. The Mars One colony creates an urgent need for more detailed study of methane emissions and of any biological activity associated with them. The probability that indigenous life on Mars might threaten the Mars One colony is quite low. It is much more likely that the presence of a human colony poses a significant risk to Martian life.

It is probable that human colonization eventually will destroy, or at least drastically alter the nature of any Martian biosphere. The study of unaltered Martian life is important for our understanding of the origins and early evolution of life on Earth. As such, it is imperative that investigations be conducted of the Martian atmosphere, surface, and subsurface to characterize any living organisms that exist on Mars now before its biosphere is contaminated by species from Earth.

As a fist step in this process, the OCESS 2016 mission will undertake a more detailed and precise mapping of methane plumes in the Martian atmosphere with the goal of localizing their sources. Observations will be made from Mars orbit and using remotely piloted atmospheric vehicles. Some of these sources will then be examined on the ground to try to identify the what is producing the methane and where this is taking place. This may include subsurface as well as surface exploration.

As a secondary mission goal, the OCESS mission will set up monitoring stations around the Mars One colony to try to identify any spread of Earth life - microbes - away from the colony site. This will include traps and other robotic sampling as well as the monitoring of atmospheric particles and gases. In order to maintain the integrity of the Mars One project, no direct contact with the colony will be made.

* Bill Steigerwald, 2009, Martian Methane Reveals the Red Planet is not a Dead Planet, www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mars/news/marsmethane.html, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Oct. 7, 2015

OCESS strongly urges all members and all Canadians to read the following press release from the Canadian arm of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space

SEDS Canada: Why Space Matters to Students

The Ottawa Carleton Education Space Simulation (OCESS) fully supports the position of SEDS-Canada in relation to investment by the government of Canada in Canada’s space sector. By raising Canada’s core budget for the Canadian Space Agency, our next government will be safeguarding a future for all Canadian students, particularly those like us, who may seek careers in the space sector. Lack of public support of Canadian space companies has forced many enterprises to relocate to other countries, and with them, some of our country’s greatest talent. It has been hugely disheartening for us to witness the stagnation and decay of the space sector in Canada, a country which in previous years was at the forefront of space exploration and innovation (developing technologies such as the Canadarm: an indispensable contribution to the International Space Station). While some may question the merit of investing in our space sector, the Canadian space and aerospace divisions generate tens of billions of dollars annually, and employ over 150 000 Canadians, we believe that increased funding to these continually growing industries can only be a worthwhile investment. Additionally, technologies including the internet, GPS, and cell phones were developed as a result of human activity in space, and have significantly improved the lives of the millions of people that use them daily. With greater government support for the Canadian Space Agency, and Canada’s space sector as a whole, the possibilities for what we could achieve are limitless.
- Hannah Delion, OCESS External Affairs Officer




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