In March 2021, The Planetary Society released a set of recommendations for the future of Canada's space program. Planetary Society members across Canada echoed this message in an open call for public input from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
Our overall message was to urge the CSA to prioritize planetary science as it made plans for Canada’s future in space.
This message was heard; in May 2021 the CSA announced a series of new investments in space science and exploration, including a Canadian-led lunar rover mission.
The lunar rover will be built in Canada and will carry at least two science instruments, Canadian and American. The mission will collect imagery and data from the surface of the Moon and will aim to endure an entire lunar night—about 14 Earth days of darkness and extreme cold.
This will be the first Canadian-led mission to another planetary body. It is a huge step for developing and proving Canadian capabilities in planetary science and exploration, and for establishing a more robust space exploration ecosystem in Canada.
The CSA has also made investments in its Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program, funding several Canadian companies to develop and launch lunar exploration technologies including an artificial intelligence flight computer, panoramic cameras, and a planetary navigation system. On top of this, the CSA announced new funding for lunar science at several Canadian universities.
Along with the announcement of these new investments, we also saw the House of Commons establish a Standing Committee on Science and Research, something that will no doubt help the Canadian space program reach even higher.
These advances that we’re seeing today would not be possible without the support of Canadians who believe in the value of exploration. The Planetary Society will continue to empower our members around the world to advocate for space science and exploration.