Western celebrates contribution to Canada’s space program on Space Day

With news breaking that researchers at Western University will partner with the Canadian Space Agency on a project that will provide invaluable access to RADARSAT-2 data for research and testing purposes, the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX) is also preparing for Western’s inaugural Space Day, which is set for launch on Monday, April 13.

The event, which runs from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Physics and Astronomy Building, celebrates Western’s past contribution to Canada’s space program and showcases the current research of CPSX graduate students from the Faculties of Science, Engineering and Social Science.

Immediately following a Space Day welcome from the Dean of Science, Charmaine Dean, the Historic Sites Committee of the London Public Library Board will unveil a plaque in honour of John H. Chapman, which will reside in the original Natural Sciences Building, currently housing Western’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.

A native Londoner, Chapman attended Western and was among the first class of graduates in Radio Physics. A member of the Royal Society of Canada and the National Research Council Associate committee on space research, Chapman is best known for having led the development and launch of the Allouette satellite, which positioned Canada as the third country on the planet to launch to space. The headquarters of the Canadian Space Agency and the most prestigious space award in Canada are also named in his honor.

The keynote address will follow and be delivered by Michael Vergalla, a project engineer at Moon Express Inc., a privately funded commercial space company created to develop the resources of the Moon for the benefit of life on Earth and humanity’s future in space. In January, Moon Express was awarded a $1 million milestone prize from Google for being the only participant in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition so far to test a prototype of its lander.

Five 10-minute presentations by graduate students will be shared from 3:00 to 4 p.m. covering a wide range of topics including, mapping Martian craters, analyzing lunar meteorites, rover navigation on Mars, crater detection and studying Arctic atmosphere.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Renaud, Senior Media Relations Officer, 519-661-2111, ext. 85165, jrenaud9@uwo.ca, @jeffrenaud99

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