Canadian on the moon: Ambitious space plan could mean Canuck moonwalker
Sunday, August 25, 2013, 10:29 -
An ambitious plan developed by a group of 14 space agencies could see Canada send its first astronaut to the moon.
The space agencies, including Canada's, hope to eventually send humans to Mars -- and their plan includes setting up a lunar base as a staging post.
Jean-Claude Piedboeuf, the Canadian Space Agency's director of space-exploration development, says astronauts could be moon-bound within about 15 years.
There would be human missions in the lunar vicinity and on its surface until 2030, at which point sights would be set on the red planet.
He adds that the CSA is proposing that a Canadian astronaut be included in the mission to operate a Canadian-built rover.
"We're proposing a vision where Canada could have an astronaut, effectively a Canadian who will be in lunar space, either in orbit or on the moon and could operate a Canadian rover in the same way that Canadians operate a Canadarm on the space station,'' Piedboeuf said. "We can foresee in the future doing the same type of thing on the moon, with the Canadian industry building a rover -- and a Canadian astronaut could be the operator of this rover.''
The first stop on the pathway to Mars -- the International Space Station -- will continue to be manned until at least 2020.
Canada is working to get one of its two active astronauts, David Saint-Jacques or Jeremy Hansen, to visit the space station between 2016 and 2019.
The last manned mission to the moon was in 1972, when NASA astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmidt spent 75 hours there.