Department of Engineering / News / Cambridge engineer supports next steps in lunar exploration

Department of Engineering

Cambridge engineer supports next steps in lunar exploration

Cambridge engineer supports next steps in lunar exploration

Cambridge engineer and Canadian astronaut Dr Jenni Sidey-Gibbons will join colleagues at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) in a project that will see humans return to the Moon. 

I feel ecstatic at the opportunities in front of us. Going to the Moon in the Apollo era changed what we thought was possible. Returning to the Moon in a sustainable capacity will do the same.

Dr Jenni Sidey-Gibbons

It has been announced that Canada has formed a new partnership in the NASA-led Lunar Gateway – an international collaboration in human space exploration. About one-fifth the size of the International Space Station (ISS), it will orbit the Moon and will provide living space for astronauts, a docking station for visiting aircraft, and laboratories for research. Canada’s contribution to the Gateway will be a smart robotic system – Canadarm3 – that will repair, maintain and inspect the Gateway. It will move equipment, support spacewalks, assemble and deploy scientific instruments, and handle scientific samples collected on the Moon’s surface. 

Dr Sidey-Gibbons was recruited to the CSA as a member of the 2017 NASA astronaut class. A Lecturer in Internal Combustion Engines at the University of Cambridge, she is one of the Department of Engineering’s ambassadors for Engineering Diversity and helped form Cambridge Robogals in 2014, an international, not-for-profit, student-run organisation that aims to increase female participation in STEM. 

“With the announcement that Canada will be a part of NASA’s Lunar Gateway project, I feel excited and hopeful for our space programme,” said Dr Sidey-Gibbons. “Not only will we have the opportunity to take Canadian concepts to the Moon, but we will benefit from the science and technology we develop to help get us there. Personally, I feel ecstatic at the opportunities in front of us. Going to the Moon in the Apollo era changed what we thought was possible. Returning to the Moon in a sustainable capacity will do the same.”

A CSA spokeswoman added: “Canada’s anticipated benefits in participating in the Gateway and Lunar programme will ensure a bright future for Canada’s astronaut programme by securing flight opportunities for our current and future astronauts. It will also allow the Canadian science community to perform scientific investigations around and on the surface of the Moon, and to test cutting-edge technologies in the harsh environment of deep space and radiation.”

Further information on The Lunar Gateway is available here.

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