Canada will land a robotic robot on the moon within five years, its industry minister said on Wednesday, announcing that Ottawa plans to “dream big” by advancing its competitiveness in the growing global space market.
“Canada will be part of space history,” François-Philippe Champagne said at a press conference.
“We recognize that global interest in space and the space industry is increasing,” he said. “As the world looks to the stars, we stand ready to make Canada a global leader in research, technology and innovation so that we can be there too.
“Let’s seize the moment. I don’t think there has ever been a better time to be Canadian and dream big. “
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will partner with U.S. NASA on the mission, according to a statement.
Two Canadian companies will first be selected to develop concepts for the rover and scientific instruments for the mission.
The rover will be tasked with exploring a polar region of the Moon and carrying out scientific work, as well as taking images and collecting data on the surface.
In the meantime, a Canadian astronaut is expected to take part in a lunar mission for the first time in 2023, as part of the NASA-led Artemis project, it was announced in December.
The mission, Artemis II, will see a crewed test flight sent into orbit but will not involve an actual moon landing, according to the US space agency.
The following year, Artemis III aims to land astronauts, including the first woman, on the moon. It will be the first landing since Apollo 17 in 1972.
Ottawa has invested C $ 36.5 million (US $ 30 million) over the past year to advance lunar and space technologies, including micro-rovers, and to build a third-generation robotic arm called Canadarm3 . Its predecessors were deployed on space shuttles and the International Space Station to handle payloads.
A total of C $ 2 billion has been allocated to the Canadian space program over the next two decades.
The global space market, the government said, is expected to triple to C $ 1.1 trillion. Canada currently holds 1.3%. 100 of this market.
A sign of the industry’s global growth, an unmanned rover from the United Arab Emirates, so far a space minnow, will be transported to the moon next year, moon exploration company iSpace announced in April.
© 2021 AFP