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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:

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

Artist's concept of the Lunar Gateway

Artist's concept of the Gateway orbiting the Moon. (Credit: NASA)

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.

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 a robotic system to the Lunar Gateway.

Innovative health technologies

Former CSA astronaut Robert Thirsk shares his thoughts on the future of medical care in space. (Credit: CSA)

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:

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