On November 14, the federal government awarded a $43 million contract to Canadensys Aerospace Corporation to build Canada’s first lunar rover.
In partnership with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and NASA, Candensys Aerospace is part of the commercial lunar payload services. The rover is expected to land on the Moon’s south polar region as early as 2026, according to a CSA press release.
Canadensys Aerospace will create the rover to operate in total darkness and survive the lunar night which can last up to 14 Earth days.
Based in Bolton, Ontario, Canadensys Aerospace begins designing and building the rover to explore the moon for water ice in a decades-long international mission.
“The moon is a very difficult place, because it’s very cold with nighttime temperatures of minus 200 degrees Celsius, daytime temperatures of plus 100 degrees Celsius,” Candensys Aerospace CEO Christian Sallaberger told Your Morning on Thursday. CTV.
“Crazy temperature swings, but also a high radiation environment, it’s just a tough place to design things (for).”
The southern region of the moon is particularly difficult to explore due to its relative position to the sun. While the sun shines continuously on top of the craters near the lunar south pole, sunlight never reaches the interior of the craters, leaving them in permanent shadow.
The harsh environment on the moon forces scientists and engineers to create safe lunar products to withstand extreme temperatures.
“There’s no atmosphere on the moon, so you can’t use rubber tires,” Sallaberger said. “So we have compliant wheels that use mechanical mechanisms to give you that bounce you expect from a tire.”
The rover will carry several “science payloads” that include devices and sensors to collect lunar data. Five payloads come from Canada and one from the United States.
One of the payloads, supplied by Bubble Technology Industries of Chalk River, Ontario, can detect iron and calcium as well as the presence of hydrogen, which can help scientists locate water ice.
In addition to building the rover, Canadensys will create three payloads: a Lyman-Alpha imager to identify surface water ice, a multispectral imager to identify minerals on the moon, and an MSI-Macro to collect similar data via the mineralogy but with higher resolution. . The radiation will be measured with a device from Teledyne DALSA, a Waterloo, Ont. company.
“We really have two goals,” Sallaberger said. “The engineering side…preparing for possibly larger rovers and human missions. But on the science side, the main focus is to search for water.”
For humans to live long-term on the moon, there must be a sustainable water source. Sallaberger says the moon’s south pole is likely to have water ice in shadowed craters.
“It’s just very exciting to be part of this effort of humanity, to go back to the Moon and increase the socio-economic sphere of the Earth,” Sallaberger said.
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