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Notice – Lunar Exploration Acceleration Program (LEAP) planetary science investigation grants -

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Table of contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Objectives and eligible projects
  3. Important comments

1. Purpose

In , the Canadian Government (GoC) announced the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP) as part of a new National Space Strategy to "position Canada's commercial space sector to help grow the economy and create the jobs of the future". The Federal Budget confirmed that the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) can access up to $150M over five years starting in - for LEAP to support space technology development, in-space demonstrations, as well as science missions. By using LEAP to develop key capabilities in niche areas that may be highly sought after for new international missions, Canada can position itself as a partner of choice amongst international space agencies and can position the space sector for global growth.

In light of the above, the CSA would like to advance scientific knowledge of the Moon through the development of research programs in planetary science. The CSA wants to promote the creation of interdisciplinary research teams working on common scientific questions. The resulting research programs can encompass a variety of activities related to lunar science questions. Amongst other things, these activities can include theoretical advancements, modelling, field work, laboratory experiments, analyses of astromaterials, data collection, data processing and analyses, participation on analogue missions, participation on international lunar missions, results dissemination, and capacity building.

The CSA is thus informing the Canadian planetary science community of its intention to proceed with the posting of a potential Announcement of Opportunity (AO) as part of its LEAP utilizing the CSA Class Grants and Contributions Program – Research component. The objective of this notice is to inform the planetary science community in order to help the community be prepared to respond.

2. Objectives and eligible projects

The objective of this potential AO is to support research activities related to advancing knowledge of the Moon as outlined in the Canadian Space Exploration – Science and Space Health Priorities for Next Decade and Beyond () (PDF, 3.57 MB).

A second objective is to develop and strengthened key capabilities in research area sought after for future lunar international missions through collaborations of researchers working on lunar scientific questions and capacity-building initiatives.

The CSA expectations from selected proposals are:

The potential AO is planned to have only one funding category of a maximum grant of $900,000 over a maximum of five (5) years.

The project must consist of various researchers joining under the same research program to answer common lunar scientific topics or questions that will promote collaborative work. When composing teams, having researchers from different Canadian universities and post-secondary institutions as well as graduate students and post-doctoral researchers supporting researchers is actively encouraged.

Applicants should consider regional representation (i.e., including Co-Investigators from Eastern and Western Canada) and activities to increase representation from the four designated equity groups under the Employment Equity Act: women, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal peoples, and members of visible minorities.

Projects must have lunar science objectives that are aligned with LEAP Science and technology (S&T) goals that are driven by the Canadian Space Exploration: Science and Space Health Priorities for the Next Decade () (PDF, 3.57 MB).

In particular, the research projects must be aligned with the objectives found in Table 1.

Table 1 Objectives from the Canadian space exploration: Science and space health priorities for the next decade that drove the LEAP science and technology goals
Topic Objective number Objective title
Planetary atmospheres PAT-04 Understand atmospheric and exospheric aerosols
Planetary geology, geophysics and prospecting PGGP-01 Document the geological record and processes that have shaped the surface of the terrestrial planets, their moons, icy satellites and asteroids
PGGP-02 Determine the Resource Potential of the Moon, Mars and asteroids
PGGP-03 Understand the origin and distribution of volatiles on the terrestrial planets and their moons, asteroids and comets
PGGP-04 Determine the interior structure and properties of the terrestrial planets and their moons, icy satellites and asteroids
PGGP-06 Understand surface modification processes on airless bodies
Planetary space environment PSE-01 To understand the role of magnetic fields, plasma and atmosphere-ionosphere dynamics on the history and evolution of planets and other solar-system bodies
PSE-02 To understand and characterize the plasma processes that shape the heliosphere and drive planetary and interplanetary space weather and related which create hazards to space exploration

3. Important comments

This notice is not an AO and should not be considered as a commitment on the part of the GoC to publish one. No agreement based on this notice will be concluded. This notice does not in any way authorize prospective interested institutions to undertake work, the cost of which could be claimed from Canada.

It should be noted that the description of the AO in section 2 is subject to change between now and the official publication of the AO, if necessary.

For guidance, publication of the AO is targeted for the timeframe on the CSA website. Several factors may influence this date, or even lead to the cancellation of such a publication.

This notice is subject to change. If necessary, these changes will be published on the CSA website. It is recommended to check the site regularly. No question will be answered at this stage.

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