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First Canadian rover to explore the Moon

For the first time in history, a Canadian rover will explore the Moon and help in the international search for water ice, a key component needed for the future of human space exploration.

Canada's role

The Canadian rover will land on the south pole of the Moon and will carry six scientific payloads: five Canadian and one American. Thanks to a close and ongoing collaboration between NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Canadian lunar rover will fly as part of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative.

Building on the success of past scientific instruments, academia and industry will once again have the chance to show Canadian know-how in that field. The mission is a technology demonstration augmented by a suite of scientific payloads meant to set the base for future Canadian lunar exploration.

As part of Canada's plan for robotic space exploration, the CSA has been actively working on refining rover designs and building Canadian expertise in rover technology for decades.

Why send a rover?

Rovers act like scientists' eyes and hands – they help gather information on samples of elements at different locations, and send data back to Earth, as opposed to landers that can only analyze one location.

Using their tools and instruments, they can help scientists learn more about important resources on the Moon that will be needed to establish a long-term presence on the Moon and send humans farther into space.

Who will build the Canadian rover?

In , Canadensys Aerospace Corporation (Canadensys) and its partners were selected to build the Canadian lunar rover as well as to develop the Canadian payloads. NASA is set to provide the sixth payload.

The company will work with organizations from industry and academia:

What will the Canadian rover do on the Moon?

The rover will explore a region of the lunar south pole. With the help of its scientific payloads, it will gather scientific data to help find water ice and allow scientists to better understand the lunar geology and environment.

The rover will have the ability to:

The rover will navigate the surface of the Moon to test and demonstrate key systems like surface mobility, telecommunications, dust mitigation, navigation, and remote semi-autonomous control.

Rover operations will be performed in Canada. Both Canadian and American scientists will have access to the data collected by the rover's scientific payloads.

The CSA plans to send a rover to the Moon as early as to explore a polar region. (Credit: CSA)

Objectives

The objectives of the Canadian lunar rover are to:

Why is finding water ice on the Moon important?

Water is essential if we want to stay on the Moon. We need water, and the oxygen it provides, in order to live. It would also be used to produce hydrogen, a source of energy to launch rockets from its surface. Bringing water from Earth would be very expensive and complex.

Payloads

Technical details

Technical details of the first Canadian rover to explore the Moon
Target destination Moon
Size 0.5 square metres
Mass 30 kg (including 6 kg of science instruments)
Data transmission delay 6–10 seconds
Maximum speed 0.72 km/h (20 cm/s)
Powered by Solar energy
Some additional features
  • 4-wheel drive system
  • solar panels
  • 4 cameras
  • antennas
  • 6 payloads

The Canadian lunar rover is a major initiative under the CSA's Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program. This program fosters innovation in areas of strength for Canada, like robotics, science, health and artificial intelligence.

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