Innovation landing at Discovery

May 13, 2013

Discovery is launching into the theme of deep space this year with exhibitor Tomatosphere, an Innovations in Aerospace panel (featuring the Executive Director of Ontario Aerospace Council) and keynote speaker Dr. Peter Diamandis, who is a co-founder of the International Space University and managing director and co-founder of Space Adventures.

It has been nearly 44 years since Apollo 11 landed on the Moon and now the general public is able to book a leisure flight to space and volunteer to help set up a colony on Mars. Canadian space exploration is also at a level it has never seen before, with the first- ever Canadian, Commander Chris Hadfield, commanding the International Space Station (ISS) since December 2012. 

To celebrate this, the Bank of Canada recently introduced the new polymer five dollar bill with the Canadarm attached to the ISS featured on the back. “Now Canadians can remember every time they buy a sandwich, a coffee and a donut, what we are capable of,” Hadfield said while introducing the new bill April 30, via a link through Mission Control in Houston to the ISS. 

Commander Hadfield will be returning from the ISS today (May 13) and he will not be coming alone. He will be returning to Earth with 600,000 Heinz Tomato seeds for the Tomatosphere project – and those seeds will be at OCE’s Discovery.

Tomatosphere is an OCE-supported project that engages classrooms across North America to plant tomato seeds that have spent time in space to observe their germination rates versus regular control seeds. The 600,000 seeds which have been on the ISS for 23 months will be packaged and paired with a control group and distributed to more than 15 000 classes in Canada (and some in the United States). The goal of this project is for students to learn about the exciting world of science, space exploration, food and nutrition. 

Tomatosphere, and its seeds newly back from space, will be one of the many exhibits that will be on display at Discovery 13, May 27-28 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. 

Canada’s contribution to aerospace doesn’t end at tomato seeds, or even at the Canadarm. Canada is a major player in today’s aerospace industry. "Many Canadians are surprised to learn that our industry [aerospace] ranks fifth in the world and employs more than 80,000 Canadians," says Rod Jones, Executive Director, Ontario Aerospace Council and a panellist at this year’s Discovery. "For us to continue to have success, we must continue to invest and plan for next generation programs. Industry and government are actively focussed on planning for the future." Jones’s panel, Innovations in Aerospace, will discuss the transformation of the aerospace industry on May 29. 

Advances in the aerospace industry mean that the human grasp of space no longer exceeds our reach. Launching even further into the theme of deep space, Discovery’s keynote speaker, Dr. Peter Diamandis, is a co-founder of the International Space University and managing director and co-founder of Space Adventures, which sells suborbital flights to private citizens to the International Space Station. In his opening keynote address, Dr. Diamandis will be discussing the coming age of abundance – understanding humanity’s future and exponential technologies causing disruptive innovation. This discussion will give an insightful look into how the world around us – on Earth and beyond – is forever changing.

Discovery is Canada's leading innovation-to-commercialization conference, taking place May 27-28, 2013 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Register for Discovery before midnight Monday, May 13 and get 15 per cent off with promo code OCE15.