The Canadian Space Agency has announced over $1.7 million in new funding for concept studies related to scientific research that may be performed on the Artemis Program’s Lunar Gateway station. This follows a Request for Proposals in December of 2022.
The Lunar Gateway will be a space station, smaller than the ISS, that will be placed in a near-rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO) above the Moon. It will serve as both an automated science hub and a crewed stopover for astronauts on their way to the lunar surface. The CSA is a major partner in Artemis, and Canada will provide a new version of the Canadarm remote manipulator, Canadarm3, for use on the Lunar Gateway.
The Government of Canada has already announced significant funding aimed at supporting the Lunar Gateway and Canada’s lunar efforts, including $1.2 billion for new lunar rovers, $150 million over five years for the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program, and $76.5 million over eight years “in support of Canadian science on the Lunar Gateway station.” This announcement of $1.7 million in funding appears to be an early step in that latter category.
The awards went to the following companies:
AllSeeing Corp. received $240,000 in funding for a concept study on the “Diamond Experiment in the MagnetOSphere” (DEIMOS). DEIMOS is a “quantum-enhanced diamond sensor” that will measure “ambient magnetic resonance lines, plasma densities and temperatures.”
MDA received two awards totalling $497,385 for a pair of concept studies. MDA’s first award was $249,851, for the Gateway Robotic Autonomous Analyser for Life Science (GRAALS) instrument. The CSA announcement said that GRAALS will “leverage the ISS MicroPREP design to perform sample analysis to better understand the effects of deep-space environment cell and tissue biology.”
The second MDA concept student award, for $247,534, was for the Lunar DUst Science and Technology for Environment Research (Lunar DUSTER) instrument. As detailed in previous SpaceQ coverage, the Lunar DUSTER would serve a dual purpose: it would remove lunar dust from the surfaces of the Lunar Gateway, then analyze it to increase our scientific understanding of lunar dust and how it will behave on or around the Lunar Gateway.
The University of Alberta received $250,000 for a concept study on the Gateway Sweeping Energetic Particle Telescope (G-SWEPT). As detailed in our story on the telescope last month, G-SWEPT is a collaboration between two UofA professors and their teams: Prof. Ian Mann of the Physics Department and Prof. Robert Fedosejevs of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. It’s a radiation detector with the unique ability to not only record the vector of radiation from Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) events, but also predict bursts of energetic particles by measuring fast-moving electrons.
Pelican MRI, headed by University of Saskatchewan Professor Gordon E. Sarty, received $242,500 for a concept study on the Wrist Magnetic Resonance Imager (MRI) on the Lunar Gateway. The announcement says that the imager is intended to “simultaneously prove the MRI technology in a deep-space (radiation) environment and gather data about the effect of that environment on the astronauts who visit and use the Gateway.”
The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute received $249,879 in funding for a concept study on READY (REd blood cell Active DYnamics in space). READY will “develop and validate methods to test novel hypotheses on space hemolysis in the Lunar Gateway environment.”
And, finally, Lunar Medical received $249,170 in funding for a study on “a dynamic software system comprised of an integrated digital health platform and a digital twin”, which may play a key role in providing medical support during exploration missions.