Engineers testing the Near Infared Spectrometer (NIRSpec) Engineering Test Unit (ETU). PHOTO: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Gunn © Canadian Space AgencyClick image to enlargeThe Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has awarded seven contracts totalling $4.36 million to five manufacturing and tech companies to develop moon exploration technology.

International efforts to explore the Moon have ramped up as it is now seen as a launch pad to travel further in space, onwards to Mars.

The CSA’s goal is to develop concepts for nano and micro-rovers, as well as autonomous science instruments. These advancements will serve as the first steps towards landing and conducting Canadian science on the surface of the Moon.

The contracts being awarded include:

ABB will receive $693,193 to design, build and test the prototype for an autonomous lunar exploration infrared spectrometer that will remotely measure and study the mineralogical composition of the Moon's surface.

Bubble Technology Industries Inc. will receive $698,321 to develop a spectrometer that will autonomously search for hydrogen to indicate the presence of water and ice near the Moon's surface.

Canadensys Aerospace Corp. will receive two contracts worth a total of $1,099,366 to develop concept designs, technologies and prototypes for two different classes of small Canadian lunar science rovers – a nano-rover and a micro-rover.

Magellan Aerospace will receive $607,258 to develop a lunar impactor probe that will deliver instruments to the surface of the Moon, including sensors to detect water in the permanently shadowed regions of the Moon.

Mission Control Space Services Inc. will receive $573,829 to advance an Autonomous Soil Assessment System as an AI-based science support tool for rovers navigating on the Moon.

Western University will receive $690,123 to develop an integrated vision system for surface operations that will be used for identification of the geology of the lunar surface and for rover navigation.

"Our Government is positioning Canada's space sector to reach for the Moon and beyond. This investment will help Canadian businesses bring their technologies to market, creating opportunities for them to join the growing space economy while supporting Canada to achieve world firsts in space science and exploration," said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

Funding for these projects comes from the CSA's Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP), which has $150 million over five years to help small and medium-sized businesses in Canada develop new technologies to be used and tested in lunar orbit and on the Moon's surface.

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