The future of space exploration: beyond the International Space Station
Space agencies from around the world are looking towards the future of deep-space exploration, beyond the International Space Station (ISS). Canada has committed to participating in international space exploration efforts that aim to push humanity farther into the solar system.
Propelling Canada farther
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is working with national and international partners to write the next chapter of space exploration—sending humans to more distant destinations like the Moon and Mars.
These daring missions will pose bigger challenges than travelling to the ISS, which is only 400 km from Earth:
- Greater distances mean long-duration missions
- Health risks for humans living without Earth's protective atmosphere
- Longer communication delays
These factors mean that crews and missions travelling farther from Earth will require more independence and autonomy.
The CSA is preparing for potential roles in these future missions by advancing technologies in areas of strength for Canada, like artificial intelligence, robotics and medical healthcare technologies.
Robots equipped for the future
Countries across the globe are preparing plans to build the Lunar Gateway, an outpost in the vicinity of the Moon that will serve as a stepping stone for deep-space exploration.
Advanced robotics, capable of operating autonomously, will be essential for mission success.
The CSA is moving forward with plans to equip our existing ISS robots with a greater degree of autonomy, and preparing for the next generation of robots designed to execute tasks in even tougher environments.
Leveraging its strengths as a global leader in space robotics and artificial intelligence, Canada is well positioned to contribute an advanced autonomous robotic system to the Lunar Gateway.
Innovative health technologies
The Canadian studies performed on the ISS supported by the CSA focus on identifying and mitigating the effects of space on astronauts' health in order to make space travel safer.
The well-being of crews is essential to the success of longer-term missions to more distant destinations. Far from Earth, medical systems and support technologies enabled by artificial intelligence could provide astronauts with enhanced medical autonomy.
The CSA has awarded multiple contracts to the Canadian health community to evaluate current technological capabilities and create a plan to develop future medical systems that could allow crews to independently:
- monitor and analyze health data and medical history
- predict or identify early onset of medical conditions
- assess sleep, fitness or nutrition
- correctly diagnose and treat conditions
- maintain their medical skills throughout their missions
- Transforming the future of space robotics
- Planning Canada's next chapter in human space exploration: health and biomedical roles
- The history of Canadarm2
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