The Government of Canada announced today that Canadensys Aerospace has received a contract to design and build Canada’s first lunar rover, which will be sent to the Moon’s south pole region as early as 2026.
Western planetary geologist Gordon “Oz” Osinski will serve as principal investigator and scientific lead on the project. His work will involve coordinating the science team, developing the overall science plan for the mission, working with the various institutions to finalize the development of their instruments, and analyzing satellite data from the Moon to identify potential landing sites.
“I’m honestly overwhelmed, and it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said Osinski, an earth sciences professor. “It’s a cliché but I truly feel this is a culmination of everything I’ve worked towards throughout my academic career. It’s very, very exciting.”
Initiated under the Canadian Space Agency’s Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP), the lunar rover will demonstrate key technologies for future lunar exploration activities and has scientific objectives in the areas of geology, shadowed regions and volatiles, as well as astronaut health and life sciences.
“This is an incredible opportunity for me but also an incredible opportunity for Western,” said Osinski. “Over the next few years, many students, faculty and staff will play a part of this historic mission, as we bring Canada and Western to the Moon.”
Osinski’s main area of research focuses on understanding impact cratering as a planetary geological process, on the Earth, Moon and Mars. The principal investigator of the Canadian Lunar Research Network and founder and chair of the Planetary Sciences Division of the Geological Association of Canada, he also studies economic geology, Precambrian geology, and comparative studies of periglacial and glacial processes in the Canadian Arctic and Mars.
Renowned international team
The 30kg lunar rover will carry multiple science payloads from Canada and the U.S.
Canadensys Aerospace, one of Canada’s most innovative space systems companies, is leading a broad team of partners, including Western, NASA Ames Research Center, NGC Aerospace, Maya Heat Transfer Technologies, Nokia, Bubble Technology Industries, Waves in Space, Simon Fraser University, the University of Winnipeg, l’Université de Sherbrooke, Leap Biosystems, Surrey Satellite Technology, and RF Collins. The team’s scientific investigators are among the leading lunar researchers in Canada and the U.S. and are affiliated with the core team organizations as well as Arizona State University, Planetary Science Institute, and University of Alberta.
“Canadensys and our team members have been hard at work for the past decade, developing many of the key component technologies for lunar rovers. This contract is a testament to that hard work, and we are humbled to have been given this remarkable opportunity to lead such a renowned international team to the Moon,” said Christian Sallaberger, president and CEO at Canadensys.