Canadian Space Summit and Apollo 17 astronaut descend on Western

Captain Kirk wasn’t lying. Space is the final frontier. But with the end of NASA’s space shuttle era now here, the question becomes who will lead future planetary scientific and exploration missions. And more importantly for astronomers and planetary geologists working in Canada, what role will we play moving forward.

Next week, planetary scientists, researchers, industry partners and government officials will meet at Western University for the 2012 Canadian Space Summit (CSS 2012) to address these topics and billions and billions of other cosmic queries.

Helmed under the banner Bridging Communities: Unifying the Canadian Space Sector and organized by Western’s Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX), CSS 2012 provides more than 100 delegates from the Canadian and international space community with a multi-faceted forum to present recent scientific advances, exchange information on new technologies, develop new ideas and discuss opportunities for international collaboration.

At the conclusion of CSS 2012, which includes a mix of plenary sessions, invited talks, poster sessions, and panel discussions, is the annual Planetary Science Distinguished Public Lecture presented by Dr. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt. A retired NASA astronaut and former U.S. senator, Schmitt was the 12th and last of the Apollo astronauts to arrive and set foot on the Moon, as Apollo 17 crewmate Eugene Cernan exited the Apollo Lunar Module first.

His talk, titled “To the Moon with Apollo 17,” is scheduled for Friday, November 16 at 6 p.m. in Western’s Natural Sciences Centre, Room 145. Tickets are available at

Dr. Schmitt is available to media for one-on-one interviews on Friday, November 16 in the morning. To arrange an interview with Dr. Schmitt or CSS 2012 co-chairs Gordon “Oz” Osinski or Ken McIsaac, please contact Jeff Renaud, Western’s Senior Media Relations Officer at 519-520-7281.

For a complete program and schedule, please visit

CPSX represents the largest concentration of planetary scientists in Canada and has resulted in Western becoming the epicentre for planetary science and exploration in the country – particularly for graduate students.