Western celebrates inaugural Space Day

Inaugural Space Day at Western, 2015

The Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX) hosted Western University's inaugural Space Day on Monday, April 13, 2015.

The Physics and Astronomy building was the venue for the event.  It is envisioned as a celebration of Western University's past contributions to the Canadian space program, as well as a showcase of the the research done by the bright new minds within CPSX, as well as the collaboration with the burgeoning commercial space industry in Canada, along with the Canadian Space Agency.

David S. Chapman, grandson of Canadian space program pioneer John Herbert Chapman

David S. Chapman

Hosting the event was CPSX Acting Director Gordon Osinski.  Dean of Science Charmaine Dean gave the formal welcome. Following the welcome, Western history professor and London Library board member Jonathan Vance presented a brief biography of Western physicist Dr. John Herbert Chapman, considered the father of the Canadian space program.

In the audience, representing his family, was new Western law student David S. Chapman, who is John Herbert's grandson. David is completing his studies in Mathematical Physics at The University of Waterloo.

Also in attendance was Janet Hunten, class of '50 in Chemistry and Physics. The Huntens were friends with the Chapmans, and Janet was also a classmate of John Herbert at Western.

Janet Hunten with Gordon Osinski

Janet Hunten with Gordon Osinski

Marilyn Steinberg, Director of Communications for the Faculty of Science writes, "The Historic Sites Committee of the London Public Library Board recently selected John H. Chapman, a Western Science alumnus and the developer of the Alouette satellite which, on the day of its launch, ensured Canada’s position as the third country to reach orbit, as a Londoner of note to be commemorated in the unveiling of a plaque in his honor."

London Public Library Board Chair Gloria Leckie said a few words before the formal unveiling of the plaque that commemorates John Chapman's contribution to the Canadian space program and Western University.

The plaque will take a place of honour in the atrium of the Physics and Astronomy building.

Michael Vergalla, Project Engineer at Moon Express

Michael Vergalla of Moon Express

Keynote speaker for the event was Michael Vergalla, Project Engineer of Moon Express.  Michael gave an inspirational presentation which highlighted his company's efforts in commercializing space travel to the moon, along their collaboration with NASA and other groups.  Moon Express is one of the teams hunting for the Google Lunar XPrize.

After the keynote presentation it was time for some of Western's CPSX students to show off their leading edge research, each giving a 10 minute summary talk.

A reception in the atrium followed.

[more images of the event] [view on Flickr]

Summary of research talks:

Bianca D'Aoust

Presenter: Bianca D'Aoust

Research Talk: "Mapping Central Uplifts in Martian Craters".

Patrick Hill

Presenter: Patrick Hill

Research Talk: "Analysis of Lunar meteorites morphology".

Matt Cross

Presenter: Matt Cross

Research Talk: "Rover navigation on Mars".

Ian Pritchard

Presenter: Ian Pritchard

Research Talk: "Crater detection and planetary image analysis".

Emily McCullough

Presenter: Emily McCullough

Research Talk: "Lidar measurements of the atmosphere over the arctic".