News

  • July 12, 2021
    Space Resource Discussions in the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
    Plans for the extraction of water and minerals in outer space – particularly on the Moon – are developing faster than international law is evolving to address this reality. As a result, the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) held informal consultations during its recent 2021 annual session to consider the theme of ‘exploration, exploitation and utilization of space resources’. COPUOS was established in 1959 to govern the peaceful exploration and use of space for the benefit of humanity. In 1961, COPUOS’ Legal Subcommittee was formed to meet annually for two weeks to discuss legal questions related to the exploration and use of outer space.

  • May 27, 2021
    Space grant helps Western expand Moon research
    The Canadian Space Agency announced Wednesday it intends to land a micro-rover on the Moon within the next five years as part of a partnership with NASA. And as the two agencies prepare for that giant leap, Western Space will play a major role in helping understand what they may find when they get there.

  • May 27, 2021
    Newly discovered ‘glaciers’ could aid human survival on Mars
    With Elon Musk keen to settle on Mars, and NASA planning its own human missions, there’s more to it than finding a safe place to land on the red planet. When it’s no longer just robots, rovers and drones arriving, accessing the untapped abundance of ice that lies beneath the Martian surface will be key for astronauts too.

  • May 20, 2021
    Scientist set to explore massive stars with NASA telescope An international team, including Western Space scientist Els Peeters, will use NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to study the Orion Bar.
    An international team, including Els Peeters from Western University’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration, will use NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (scheduled to launch in October 2021) to study a portion of the radiated cloud called the Orion Bar to learn more about the influence massive stars have on their environments, and even on the formation of our own solar system.

  • April 22, 2021
    Exploring space medicine
    For as long as Shozab Ahmed can remember, he’s been fascinated with space. He remembers just how in awe he felt watching Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (Episode III) as a child, as he wondered about what possibilities the universe offered.

  • April 05, 2021
    Space mining is not science fiction, and Canada could figure prominently
    In this era of climate crisis, space mining is a topic of increasing relevance. The need for a net-zero carbon economy requires a surge in the supply of non-renewable natural resources such as battery metals. This forms the background to a new space race involving nations and the private sector.

  • February 17, 2021
    ‘Perseverance’ pays off for Western Space alumnus
    When it comes to space missions, Raymond Francis has been there and has the cool NASA T-shirts to prove it. But it doesn’t mean launches and landings aren’t still exciting for the Western alumnus. As an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Francis has a front row seat, and a big role to play, when the Perseverance rover touches down on Mars on Thursday, February 18.

  • February 08, 2021
    Project mines new frontiers in outer-space law Science is outpacing policies for responsible resource extraction in space.
    Two Western Law professors have launched a research project into laws governing space mining. The growing demand for non-renewable natural resources, such as minerals used in batteries, has brought increased attention to the potential of exploiting resources in space for use on Earth – and the laws that govern such activities need to keep pace. The new project, spearheaded by Valerie Oosterveld and Elizabeth Steyn, will examine if international environmental law (IEL) can be employed to address gaps in the regulation of space mining.

  • January 14, 2021
    How Canada is training the next lunar astronauts
    Western University’s space geology training is suddenly a trending topic. After years educating astronauts in Canada and other countries, the university is potentially on the leading edge of assisting a new effort: to send a Canadian to lunar orbit by 2023. This historic mission, known as Artemis II, may usher in a series of Moon-landing missions similar to what we saw during the Apollo program in the 1960s and 1970s. These landings may start in 2024 and, subject to budget and technology and commitment, continue indefinitely.

  • December 18, 2020
    Year in review: Western Space looking for life in all the right places
    In its first full year, Western Space explored, discovered, dreamed – and became recognized as one of the leading authorities for all things terrestrial and extra-.

  • December 16, 2020
    The Artemis missions: humanity's return to the Moon
    The global space community is preparing for the Artemis program, a multi-mission campaign that will push human space exploration deeper into space to the Moon and on to Mars.

  • December 07, 2020
    'Christmas Star': Jupiter and Saturn to be in closest alignment in nearly 400 years
    According to NASA's Night Sky Network, Jupiter and Saturn have been gradually moving closer together since the summer in what is called a conjunction. The space agency says conjunctions occur every 20 years between planets, with the "great conjunction" between Jupiter and Saturn being the rarest.

  • November 13, 2020
    Team Processes and Outcomes During the AMADEE-18 Mars Analog Mission
    The aim of this study was to examine team functioning within the context of the AMADEE 18 Mars analog project, which took place in Oman in the winter of 2018. Five “Analog Astronauts” participated in this study. Each completed measures of individual-level variables, including demographics and personality, before the simulated Mars mission began. At several time points during the mission, and once at the end, participants completed measures of individual stress reactions, and teamwork-related variables, including several types of team conflict, citizenship behavior, in-role behavior, counterproductive behavior, and social loafing. Each participant also reported how well he or she felt the team performed. The results indicate an overall positive, successful teamwork experience. Factors including measurement issues, psychological simulation fidelity, and qualities of the team likely influenced these results. Measuring important team- and individual-level variables during additional space analog events, while considering factors related to psychological fidelity, will allow for the compilation of data to better understand the factors affecting teams in these unusual contexts.

  • September 24, 2020
    Western Space Signs deal for robotic space mission
    During a virtual event on Wednesday afternoon, Western University’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration (Western Space) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the MILO Institute, to develop deep space missions. The MILO Institute is a non-profit research collaborative led by Arizona State University, with support from Lockheed Martin and GEOshare, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin.

  • September 22, 2020
    Trottier Family Foundation gift empowers Montreal’s most affected communities to fight COVID
    Our own Dr. Sarah Gallagher takes a step out of the stars and into the fight against COVID19.

  • September 02, 2020
    Did meteorite impacts help create life on Earth and beyond?
    What if impact craters, long seen as harbingers of death, turned out to be the cradle of life? For Western University planetary scientist Gordon Osinski, this isn’t just the big question posed in his latest study, but an overriding theme of his celebrated academic career. The new study, published today in Astrobiology, posits that impact craters should absolutely be considered by space agencies like NASA and ESA as top exploration targets, not just for their invaluable post-impact geological records, but also – and perhaps more importantly – as prime locations for seeking potential habitats for extraterrestrial life.

  • August 20, 2020
    Ice Sheets Covered Southern Highlands of Early Mars
    The southern highlands of Mars are dissected by hundreds of ancient valley networks (3.9-3.5 billion years old), which are evidence that water once sculpted the Martian surface. According to new research, these valley networks were carved by water melting beneath glacial ice, not by free-flowing rivers as previously thought.

  • July 07, 2020
    Local scientists share their research, one sidewalk at a time
    In London, Astrophysicist Parshati Patel, educational outreach and communications specialist at the Institute for Earth and Space Exploration at Western, is bringing sidewalk science to her neighborhood.

  • July 02, 2020
    Astronomers discover 6 possible new exomoons
    Our solar system is filled with hundreds of moons, many more moons than planets. But what about distant solar systems? We now know of well over 4,000 confirmed exoplanets – or planets orbiting distant stars – 4,171 right now, to be exact. Yet there’ve been, so far, still only a few possible detections of exomoons. It makes sense, given that moons of planets tend to be smaller and thus more difficult to find than planets themselves. But now scientists at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada, have announced that they might have spotted six more exomoons!

  • February 24, 2020
    CSA contract giant leap towards launching Western into space
    Western University’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration (Western Space) has landed a major contract from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to develop an Integrated Vision System for future rover missions that could ultimately represent a flagship Canadian technology contribution for international missions to the Moon.