Backgrounder: Canada Moves Forward with Plans to Explore the Moon

Canadian Space Agency Backgrounder

As many countries prepare for humanity’s return to the Moon, there is great potential for Canadian entrepreneurs and scientists to advance lunar science and technology, and be part of the highly competitive global supply chain to the Moon.

Today’s announcement highlights the Government of Canada’s latest support for Canada’s space industries and new opportunities to prepare Canadian entrepreneurs and scientists to take part in lunar exploration.

Demonstrating Canadian technology on or around the Moon

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is funding Canadian companies – through the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP) – to launch and demonstrate technology payloads on or around the Moon.

  • Mission Control Space Services (Mission Control) will look to demonstrate the capabilities of their new navigation and computing technologies during a lunar rover mission, led by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center of the United Arab Emirates. Mission Control will use a cutting-edge artificial intelligence-integrated flight computer to identify and classify types of lunar geological features, and test software that will send data to scientists in real-time, effectively “shortening the distance” between the Earth and the Moon.

Two other technology demonstration projects were announced in . These will also be delivered to the Moon as part of an international mission.

  • Canadensys Aerospace Corporation will test a lightweight and energy-efficient 360° camera that will capture stunning panoramic images of the lunar surface.
  • NGC Aerospace Ltd. will seek to demonstrate a planetary navigation system similar to the GPS technology used on Earth. The system will use features on the surface of the Moon to guide and support the landing of a lunar vehicle safely, in a precise location.

Advancing Canadian lunar science

The CSA will be supporting scientists in Canadian universities to advance their understanding of the lunar surface.

  • Dr. Gordon Osinski (Western University) and other researchers (University of Alberta, Université de Sherbrooke, MacEwan University) will develop a research program to address key scientific questions related to Geology, Geophysics and Prospecting. These are the three highest priorities defined by the Canadian planetary science community
  • Dr. Behraad Bahreyni (Simon Fraser University) and other researchers (University of Manitoba, McGill University) will advance fundamental scientific knowledge of the Moon through high resolution geophysical characterization of the lunar subsurface. The project will use minituarized seismometers and gravimeters to develop new models of the lunar structure. The project will also strengthen Canada’s talent pool in space by training eight postgraduate researchers.

A Canadian rover on the Moon

The CSA is preparing for a Canadian rover to explore a polar region of the Moon within the next five years. The mission will demonstrate key technologies and accomplish meaningful science. The rover will be carrying at least two science instruments, Canadian and American. The mission will aim to gather imagery and measurements and data of the surface the moon, as well as to have the rover survive an entire night on the Moon. Lunar nights, which last about 14 Earth‑days, are extremely cold and dark, posing a significant technological challenge.