Each fall the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group gather to discuss the exploration of the moon. The focus of the meeting this year will be using the Moon as a target for solar system exploration, science, commerce, education, and technology development. The meeting takes place in Washington starting today through Thursday. Canadian participation in the meeting is strong once again this year and SpaceRef will provide a daily report during the week focusing on Canadian content.
Our special series was developed and edited by Marc Boucher, senior editor at SpaceRef and written by Elizabeth Howell, a contributing writer for SpaceRef.
Our series focuses on the Canadian Space Agencies development of niche areas Canada can contribute with the focus on the moon. As well what is Canadian academia's contribution and that of industry?
SpaceRef spoke with Jean-Claude Piedboeuf and Victoria Hipkin of the Canadian Space Agency, Gordon "Oz" Osinski of the University of Western Ontario, Dale Boucher of the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology and Gordon Zhou of the University of British Columbia.
Our first article 'Canada and the International Space Exploration Coordination Group", focuses on the high-level work the Canadian Space Agency is doing with the International Space Exploration Coordination Group to look for opportunities for Canada. Here's an excerpt:
"The idea was to look at the national objectives and science objectives," Hipkin said of the origins of this group in 2007. "We looked at the largest number of these developed by different processes, by the member countries, and put them together to draw objectives out of them."
Our second article, The Case for a Decadal-Scale Robotic Lunar Exploration Program, focuses on mining the moon and its economic viability. Welcome to the world of Dale Boucher of the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology (NORCAT). Here's an excerpt:
"When the argument comes about expense, the counter-argument by researchers like Boucher is simple: there are only so many resources on earth, requiring us to look elsewhere to meet a growing population."
Our third article, Exploring the Moon's South Pole a Canadian Objective, focuses on Canada's recent push into developing an Exploration Core Program.
Here's an excerpt: "The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has spent the past three years putting "considerable emphasis" on lunar exploration technologies, according to the paper Advanced technology Development for Space Exploration at the Canadian Space Agency being presented at the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group this week."
Our fourth and last article, Lunar In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) to Lower Exploration Costs, focuses on using the moon's own resources to lower exploration mission costs.
Here's an excerpt: "With limited government funding and private investments, ISRU is an essential part of fulfilling future lunar and space exploration visions by ultimately enabling lower mission mass and cost," Mr. Zhou wrote in an e-mail interview with SpaceRef. "With the current economical situation, ISRU takes advantage of commonality in resources and processes already available on the lunar surface. From lunar lava tubes to sulphur-based concrete, ISRU is the umbrella that comprise of refining construction material and developing consumables and manufacturable components for infrastructures to support future lunar missions."