Western geologist to lead team developing lunar rover

Canada’s first lunar rover will have strong ties to Western University.

Western planetary geologist Gordon “Oz” Osinski has been named the project’s principal investigator and scientific lead, the university announced Monday.

“Honestly, I’m overwhelmed, but haven’t really understood it yet,” said Osinski, a professor of earth sciences. “It’s a cliché, but I really feel like it’s the culmination of everything I’ve done throughout my academic career. It’s very, very exciting.”

Osinski will work with Ontario-based aerospace company Canadensys Aerospace, which has won a contract from the Canadian government to design and build the rover. He will be responsible for coordinating the science team, developing the overall science plan for the mission, working with agencies on instrument development, and analyzing satellite data to identify potential landing sites.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for me and an incredible opportunity for West,” Osinski said. “Over the next few years, as we take Canada and Western nations to the moon, many students, faculty and staff will be involved in this historic mission.”

Canada’s rover will be sent to the south pole of the moon in 2026. It will demonstrate key technologies for future lunar exploration activities and has science targets in the areas of geology, shadow areas and volatiles, and astronaut health and life sciences. The university said it hopes the 30kg rover will carry multiple scientific “payloads” from Canada and the United States.

The program to send a rover to the Moon was launched under the Canadian Space Agency’s Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program.

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