CSA astronaut returns to the “Moon” with Western planetary geologist
Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Jeremy Hansen knows that he will be heading to space within the decade. With official confirmation coming earlier this summer, his training now elevates into high gear and his first step is a mission back to the Moon with renowned Western University planetary geologist Gordon “Oz” Osinski.
Osinski, who has 15 Arctic field expeditions to his credit, is the Acting Director of Western’s Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration and an Associate Professor in the Departments of Earth Sciences and Physics & Astronomy.
Hansen will join Osinski and his research team on a four-week investigation of Victoria Island, specifically the Tunnunik impact crater, which is located on the Prince Albert Peninsula – nearly 4,000 kilometres from London, Ontario. Hansen participated in a similar training session with Western faculty, staff and students in 2012.
The 28-kilometre-wide crater, which serves as an analogue (or equivalent) for the Moon and Mars, was discovered in 2010. It is estimated to have formed between 130 and 350 million years ago, and may have been created when a three-kilometer-wide meteor struck the Earth.
This expedition also serves the CSA’s Science and Operational Applications Research (SOAR) program (http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/programs/soar/). Earlier this year, Western was selected to receive $200,000 to conduct scientific research and develop innovative applications using new and improved capabilities offered by Earth Observation satellites like RADARSAT-2 (http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/satellites/radarsat2/).
“The Canadian Arctic is a region of great interest with respect to environmental monitoring, geological mapping and resource exploration,” explains Osinski. “In addition to providing Jeremy with training in expeditionary field geology, the goal of this expedition is to develop new tools and techniques using RADARSAT-2 imagery for mapping the Canadian North.”