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Thursday, October 18

9:30am EDT

Bringing Astronomy Alive - Student Engagement at John Abbott College
Traditional approaches in Introductory Astronomy use a historical evolution of information with relatively static learning outcomes. Part of the reason for this pedagogy is the diverse (typically limited) Astronomy backgrounds of students at the post-secondary level, from no prior exposure (aside from Primary and Secondary curriculum) to budding Astronomers, Astrophysicists and Aerospace Engineers. The role of these courses is typically to share basic information and skills, but often lacks focus on the possibilities (scientifically and career-wise), so that students who have an affinity for space sciences have a starting point to leap onto a career path. Actual observing opportunities, and self-directed learning are valuable tools to engage students directly in areas of interest, and bring Astronomy and Space Sciences alive...moving beyond the classroom.

The approach in our course at John Abbott College puts the depth and direction of content in the hands of the students. Recognizing that, in the digital and social media age most students have some exposure to recent discoveries, and more importantly they have access to information and current data that better represents the direction of space science they will experience, this allows each student to put their stamp on the learning outcomes of the course. Combining this with regular (weather pending), non-compulsory observing opportunities with RASC (Royal Astronomical Society of Canada) - Montreal Centre allows students to embrace the field in a manner that suits their interests and motivation. This has resulted in incredibly diverse term projects, and several initiatives that have moved beyond the scope of the Introductory Astronomy Course, but are being supported through other avenues to foster student engagement. As well, other departments and courses are now taking advantage of the Astronomy activities to engage their students beyond the classroom.

This talk will give an overview of the course setup, a sampling of the student projects and the multi-disciplinary initiatives, and describe some of the student engagement that has moved beyond the scope of the course.

avatar for Karim Jaffer

Karim Jaffer

Student, John Abbott College
I have been at John Abbott College (JAC) since 2006 teaching a variety of Physics and Pathways courses, and began teaching the Introductory Astronomy course in 2016 - including the coordination of Astronomy observing activities, outreach, and all Astronomy-related projects in various... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 9:30am - 9:50am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

9:50am EDT

Arts and Science and Space
I will discuss how I used the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada library as a forum for College level students to explore ideas for self directed research culminating in a work of art. I will give a brief summary of how contemporary artists are incorporating current space research into their artistic investigations. I will then provide examples of student projects from the 2018 John Abbott College Arts and Science Studio Art course that gave SPACE as the thematic to be explored through a visual means. Students used sound, video, drawing, painting and sculpture to create projects that were inspired by material located in the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada library housed at John Abbott College in Montreal. The purpose of the project was to allow students to examine concepts of space in a very personal and creative manner. The presentation will provide examples of how very complex ideas around space can be experienced and relayed through visual means. I will provide a selection of 5 examples from the student projects using slide presentations in order to present a range of outcomes submitted for the course. Examples from my own studio practice will also be given to contextualize the project. This presentation will expose participants to how the arts and sciences are being bridged within the visual arts and how creativity, imagination, and exploration can be used to create independent works of art based on the vast and complex topic of space.

avatar for Sheila Nadimi

Sheila Nadimi

Professor, John Abbott College
I am a faculty member within the Visual Arts Department of John Abbott College. John Abbott College initiated an Arts and Science program in 2008 and I was responsible for developing the studio art component for this program. I am a visual artist with an interest in the intersection... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 9:50am - 10:10am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

10:10am EDT

STEM Education with the KickSat Sprite: Practicum in the Developing World
Sprites are picosatellites, already flown on several real missions (KickSat 1, Latvia's Venta, Italy's Max Valier) and manifested for KickSat 2, expected to launch in late 2018 or early 2018. Sprites can be programmed using Arduino. As satellites, in their design and operation, studying how they work can clarify the more counter-intuitive aspects of the space environment and some of the technology used to cope with, and make use of, that environment. By way of the Sprite's low cost, tiny scale, and open source design, there seems to be great promise for introducing students in the developing world to the rudiments of physics, electronics, communications theory and software engineering, in middle schools and high schools.

Recent educational psychology research suggests that certain mental capacities related to visual imagination are stoked by the exposure to physics. As well, research into project-oriented education suggests that lessons are learned better when students must organize themselves to make real things. Is the combination synergistic? And can that combination work in developing-world, with its lower education budgets, lower standards, and added stresses on the student?

Project Persephone's approach to using the Sprite in STEM education is based on lesson plans in which the students take part in planning the exercise of the Sprite in various simulated environments, using equipment and materials that students can construct, from components that are affordable in their regions. It is expected that the learning value of this extended, hands-on, project-based approach, with its strong emphasis on revealing physical principles, will not only greatly exceed the learning value of passively-consumed illustrations and demonstrations, but also signficantly exceed the learning value of simple hands-on exercises of the Sprite's (admittedly very limited) capabilities.

avatar for Michael Turner

Michael Turner

Executive Director, Project Persephone
I am leading a non-governmental, non-profit space program that has a strong emphasis on bringing the benefits of space development to equatorial mountain regions.

Thursday October 18, 2018 10:10am - 10:30am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

11:00am EDT

Converging Art and Astronomy: New Perspectives on Lunar Nomenclature and Exoplanet Research
Artist, gallerist, and art-science researcher Bettina Forget will talk about her project Women With Impact, a series of drawings of Moon craters which are named after women, and her work as artist-in-residence at the Mont-Mégantic Observatory.

The project Women With Impact is a response to the underrepresentation of women in the historical record in the field of science. Out of the 1,605 named craters on the lunar surface, 29 are named after women – that is a meager 1.8%. To highlight this issue, Bettina Forget decided to research the locations of the lunar craters named after women using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. After capturing the most detailed images of the craters possible, she created a series of 29 drawings on paper.
A crater is essentially a void, a hollow in the regolith. The void echoes the underrepresentation of women in positions of power, in the scientific canon, and in history. The void also speaks to its opposite: each crater is a result of an impact, a shattering of the calm surface. The 29 women who made such an impact are thrown into full relief with each drawing.
The series Women With Impact fuses the aesthetics of drawing with a socio-political perspective and selenographic research to create a project which bridges art and science.

For her artist residency at the Mont-Mégantic Observatory, Exoplanet Zoo proposed to create a taxonomy of exoplanets in sculptural form with the use of 3D printing technology. To create the collection of exoplanet prints, data sets associated with exoplanets were integrated into the source code of a 3D model of a plain sphere, generating a variety of exoplanet “species.” The exoplanet’s data sets include information regarding the planet’s size, mass, inclination, distance from the host star, rotation period, atmospheric composition, etc. The 3D printed sculptures blur the boundaries between organic and inorganic forms, referencing seeds, cells, and diatoms as well as geometric, crystalline structures. As such, the artworks create a link to astrobiology and ponder the possibility of life in the universe. The menagerie of sculptures makes the variances and characters of exoplanet tangible, and explore a variety of classification options.

avatar for Bettina Forget

Bettina Forget

President, Visual Voice Gallery
Bettina Forget is a gallery owner, art educator, visual artist, and art/science researcher living and working in Montreal, Canada. Bettina owns and runs Visual Voice Gallery, which presents contemporary art exhibitions that create a dialogue between art and science. Since 2016 Bettina... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 11:00am - 11:20am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

11:20am EDT

100 Times Around the Sun - RASC Montreal Centre in 2018
This year, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) is celebrating its Sesquicentennial Anniversary, growing from one centre in Toronto to 29 centres across Canada. The Montreal Centre was founded in 1918, and having experienced 100 orbits around our Sun the club has a rich and storied history in Montreal.
Over the past decade, the RASC - Montreal Centre has been revitalized through partnerships with McGill University and John Abbott College. The club now has a healthy membership over 160 and offers an Observatory at the Morgan Arboretum with a 14"" Casgrain Schmidt telescope, an Astronomy Library at John Abbott College with a collection spanning over a century, and hosts monthly public events (using either location as appropriate) throughout the year. Groups can also arrange for exclusive viewing nights - often organized for Scouts, Guides, Camps and the Starlight Foundation. The Centre maintains a Dark Sky site an hour south of Montreal, with a 16"" dobsonian telescope for member use, and other dark sky outings are organized throughout the observing season.
There's a beauty to the night sky that must be seen to be truly understood. As part of its mission, the RASC - Montreal Centre creates a welcoming environment for all who wish to learn about or pursue the hobby of observational Astronomy. In addition to an overview of the Centre's history, this talk will describe the current offerings of the club which can benefit students of the night sky...Bringing Space Down to Earth.

avatar for Karim Jaffer

Karim Jaffer

Student, John Abbott College
I have been at John Abbott College (JAC) since 2006 teaching a variety of Physics and Pathways courses, and began teaching the Introductory Astronomy course in 2016 - including the coordination of Astronomy observing activities, outreach, and all Astronomy-related projects in various... Read More →
avatar for Morrie Portnoff

Morrie Portnoff

President, RASC, Montreal Centre
I have been the President of the Montreal Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for the past 5 years. Prior that that I was the Treasurer for for 2 years as well as the Editor of the Centre's newsletter, Skyward. Observing the night sky is a passion which I love to share... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 11:20am - 11:40am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
  Space Awareness, Outreach

11:40am EDT

Space Incorporated: The Next Big Disruption. Are We Ready?
Our participation in the symposium intends to support its main topic and to complement other speakers contribution. We will take the audience in an endeavour to discover the new technologies of the commercial space industry, through our efforts in producing a documentary that will help us learn, explore, study and witness the industry's democratization and potential impact on humanity. The film presents a variety of points of view including voices for and critical of the commercial space industry, and shows the regulatory work that has been done and is currently being done (internationally) to make it a sustainable activity. It consist of a series of interviews with experts from the aerospace industry including lawyers, artists, environmentalists and astronauts, to listen their personal opinion and their expectations of technologies such as Space Transportation and Tourism (transportation of supplies, experiments, technology and satellites, human spaceflight, supersonic point-to-point travel and space hotels) Outer Space Mining (extraction of water and rare metals from asteroids, the Moon and Mars), and Permanent Human Settlements (on Mars, the Moon and Earth's orbits). Its objective is to create awareness and educate civil society, governments and the industry on the challenges, opportunities and risks of these technologies. We aim to reduce the unfamiliarity that surrounds the commercial space industry, and to promote a debate on a variety of areas such as legal, economic, environmental, social and scientific. We are at the dawn of disrupting technologies that could change the way we live in the same way aviation changed our world in one hundred years. This is a great opportunity to learn, explore, study and witness how Space Transportation and Tourism, Outer Space Mining and Permanent Human Settlements will democratize space, will make us an interplanetary species, will change our perception of ourselves and of Earth, and our relationship with our planet and other celestial bodies.


Daniel Alvarez

Co-producer, Space Incorporated
Felipe Almeida - Documental photographer and senior Ph.D. candidate at HEC Montreal in human behaviour and consumerism. Andras Töth - Cinema graduate at Concordia University, and environmental researcher from Eötvös Loránd University Daniel Alvarez - McGill University alumni in... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 11:40am - 12:00pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

2:15pm EDT

Data Visualization for Exoplanet Instrument SPIRou
Launched in April 2018, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will soon be releasing its first data. The mission will provide us with the largest sky survey of transiting exoplanets. To confirm these planets and find their characteristics the SPIRou spectrograph operating at the Canada-France Hawaii Telescope will acquire information about the planet's mass through velocimetry. TESS, SPIRou and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) are meant to compliment each other in the study of exoplanets. Data visualization tools are therefore crucial for the observation planning of these ground-based and space-based missions. Throughout a summer internship at the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx), several tools were developed to facilitate the data visualization and data analysis with TESS and SPIRou.

avatar for Mariya Krasteva

Mariya Krasteva

Physics student, Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) / Canada-France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT)
Co-op BSc student in honours physics at Concordia University. For my 4th internship I worked at the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) where I worked both at the University of Montreal and the Canada-France Hawaii Telescope.

Thursday October 18, 2018 2:15pm - 2:35pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

2:35pm EDT

HiCIBaS: A pilot project for imaging exoplanets from the stratosphere using high-altitude balloons
The High-Contrast Imaging Balloon System (HiCIBaS) is a proof-of-concept balloon-borne telescope project that had four objectives: develop and test a custom low-order wavefront sensor (LOWFS), measure and gather data on wavefront instabilities and errors at high altitudes in the visible spectrum, develop and test a sub-milli-arcsecond pointing system, and give high-altitude flight heritage to the LOWFS, deformable mirror (developed by Iris AO) and EMCCD cameras (provided by Nüvü Cameras). It was developed by Université Laval, along with numerous collaborators, and was launched under the CSA’s STRATOS program in August of 2018 from Timmins, Ontario. The “big picture” goal of this project was to characterize the atmosphere and validate the instruments, techniques and concepts used so that they can be employed for future exoplanet-studying missions.

avatar for Deven Patel

Deven Patel

Master's Student, Université Laval
Deven is pursuing a Master’s degree in Physics from Université Laval and is a graduate from Concordia University in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in Aerospace and Propulsion. During his time at Concordia, Deven completed internships at Bombardier Aerospace and CAE and largely... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 2:35pm - 2:55pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

2:55pm EDT

A Virtual Tour of the James Webb Space Telescope
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a flagship observatory whose launch is now scheduled to the spring of 2021. The unprecedented light gathering power of JWST, with its 6.5-meter foldable primary mirror, will enable the study of extremely faint objects such as first-light galaxies and transiting exoplanet atmospheres. Its four science instruments are designed to observe in the infrared spectrum from 0.7 to 28 microns in about 17 different imaging and spectroscopic observing modes. Canada, through the Canadian Space Agency, is responsible of the Fine Guidance Sensing (FGS - the guider) and its piggy-backed science instrument, the Near-Infrared imager and slitless spectrosgraph (NIRISS). I will give an overview of the observatory and give a project status.

avatar for Dr. Loïc Albert

Dr. Loïc Albert

Instrument Scientist (research associate), JWST/NIRISS | Université de Montréal
I am an astronomer specialized in observational astronomy and astronomical instrumentation. Starting with the Ph.D. thesis, I have always combined work on infrared instruments with science projects involving brown dwarfs or exoplanets. After a B.Sc. in Physics at McGill, an M.Sc... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 2:55pm - 3:15pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

3:45pm EDT

Life on Other Worlds
avatar for Karim Jaffer

Karim Jaffer

Student, John Abbott College
I have been at John Abbott College (JAC) since 2006 teaching a variety of Physics and Pathways courses, and began teaching the Introductory Astronomy course in 2016 - including the coordination of Astronomy observing activities, outreach, and all Astronomy-related projects in various... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 3:45pm - 4:05pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

4:05pm EDT

Searching for life in our solar system: development of the MICRO Life Detection Platform
Astrobiology is a major focus of space exploration. The search for life in our solar system is primarily focused on Mars, Europa and Enceladus, which are characterized by extremely cold temperatures. Current life detection instruments are focused on identification of habitable environments or detection of biosignatures, but not unambiguous signs of life. The overall goal of our research is the development of a small, portable, low cost, and low energy life detection platform known as the MICRO Life Detection Platform (MLDP) that could be incorporated into future astrobiology missions. Given that life in our solar system is very likely to be microbial in nature, the focus of this project is the testing and optimization of pre-existing, automated, and miniaturized robust instruments for the direct detection of extinct or extant microbial life. Our team is testing and optimizing four components of the MLDP: the Oxford Nanopore MinION, a Nucleic Acid Extraction Platform (NAEP), a Microbial Activity MicroAssay (MAMA), and the Cryo-iChip. Applying these instruments in a novel astrobiology context, they have been tested in two types of analogue sites: inverted paleochannels in the Utah desert and Canadian high Arctic cryoenvironments (e.g. permafrost and cold saline springs). The MinION, an ultra-small portable sequencer, can detect DNA, RNA, and proteins. Sequencing with the MinION has been performed on Utah paleochannel samples from diverse microbial habitats. Results have shown shifts in dominant bacterial phylum between high biomass and desiccated samples in addition to the detection of biogeochemical and astrobiology-significant compounds (perchlorate). We are currently testing multiple Extraction Platforms that can prepare biomolecules for MinION analysis. We have successfully used an automated NAEP system with high flight technology readiness for extraction and sequencing of cryoenvironment analogue samples. MAMA instruments are ideal for the detection and characterization of extant microbial communities. Wells inside the MAMA plates, incubated with a specific carbon source, will change colour in the presence of active microbes, thus demonstrating their metabolic activity. We are currently working to optimize the MAMA for high salinity, pH and perchlorate rich samples characteristic of Martian environments. Currently, a minimum of 4250 bacterial or 1225 yeast cells are required to detect metabolic activity, similar to Arctic analogue environments. The Cryo-iPlate is a novel culturing method used to isolate microorganisms from analogue sites. The isolates obtained are characterized for their adaptations, physiology and metabolism, all these provide insights into requirements for microbial life in extreme environments and identify potential biosignatures for astrobiology. Cryo-iPlates deployed in the Canadian high Arctic have to date lead to the isolation of hundreds of bacterial strains, among which four are putatively novel.


Olivia Blenner-Hassett

Graduate Student, McGill University

Catherine Maggiori

PhD Student, McGill University

Dr. Isabelle Raymond-Bouchard

Post Doctoral Fellow, McGill University
I am a postdoctoral fellow with the McGill Space Institute working in the laboratory of Dr. Lyle Whyte. Dr. Whyte’s research program focuses on examining microbial biodiversity and ecology in the Canadian high Arctic. These habitats include unique cold saline springs, permafrost... Read More →

David Touchette

M.Sc. student, McGill University

Thursday October 18, 2018 4:05pm - 4:25pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

4:25pm EDT

Martian lava tubes as a microbial haven: Characterizing life in Earth analogs and developing a mission concept to explore them on Mars
Space agencies and private corporations around the world have made sending missions to Mars a key priority. One of the keys to such missions is finding an environment which would allow for ease of access while providing a compelling site to do science. Scientists have hypothesized that evidence for life on Mars, either as biosignatures (substance providing evidence for life) or extant life could be found in the Martian subsurface. This would be made possible by providing would-be Martian microbes a source of water in the form of ice, ample protection both from space-based radiation, and harsh temperature changes. Martian lava tubes are hypothesized to provide these protections while additionally providing an access point to the subsurface. To determine suitable landing sites for a mission to a Martian lava tube, imagery from the Hi-RISE database, provided by the University of Arizona was analysed. Regions selected for study included Tharsis Montes and Syrtis Major due to their hypothesized high density of lava tubes. Analysis of the images confirmed this hypothesis, as we found several sites with a high concentration of sinuous formations, which are usually indicative of these structures. Using this imagery, the presence of lava tubes and identification of entry-points to the subterranean structures was confirmed with the help of experts in Martian geology. Final selection of the landing site was determined by addressing engineering constraints surrounding spacecraft delivery. From these criteria, several possible sites were selected, ranging in location from Olympus Mons to Syrtis Major. However, before a mission to Martian lava tubes can occur these habitats need to be studied extensively in analog environments here on earth; to suggest how microbes could survive on Mars and identify biosignatures. For this we visited Lava Beds National Monument to collect ice samples from within the lava tubes. Advanced cultivation and molecular techniques were employed to determine the total biomass and functional/taxonomic diversity of the microbial communities. The microbial communities within the ice are cold adapted and taxonomically diverse with dominant phyla belonging to Actinobacteria (19 – 49%), Proteobacteria (25 – 32%), and Bacteroidetes (7 – 31%). Preliminary results have identified biochemical pathways within our samples for methanogenesis, sulfur metabolism, nitrogen fixation, and carbon fixation by the reductive citric acid pathway which suggest the community is made up in part by chemolithoautotrophs. Alternative forms of primary production such as these may help to sustain the community in such a limiting environment and are no doubt essential if life were to persist on Mars today where the concentration of organic nutrients is low. Through this research we hope to define future missions to Martian lava tubes and provide a basic understanding of microbial community dynamics within lava tube ice and how these communities interact with the surrounding geology, so we may better determine the habitability of this environment on Mars and propose biosignatures indicative of past life.

avatar for Chris


Organizer, McGill University
Second year McGill Engineering student participating in Martian Mission Planning/ Simulation Project funded by the Canadian Space Agency's and collaborating with NASA Ames Laboratory and SETI. I hope to one day work in the space industry and develop colonization and habitation technology... Read More →
avatar for Brady O'Connor

Brady O'Connor

Master's Student, McGill Space Institute/McGill University
I am a master's student at McGill University in Dr. Lyle Whyte's cryomicrobiology lab. My research focuses around astrobiology and characterizing the microbial community in lava tube ice as it's an analog environment to Mars and may help us understand if life ever did exist in Martian... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 4:25pm - 4:45pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
Friday, October 19

9:30am EDT

Exploration of Mars with the Curiosity rover
NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission, featuring the Curiosity rover, has been exploring a part of Gale Crater on Mars for the past six years.  This amazing mobile laboratory, with innovative chemical instruments like the Canadian alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) and the laser-firing ChemCam instrument suite, has been characterising the rocks, soils and atmosphere to try to piece together the past geologic and climate history of Early Mars.  Curiosity’s primary objective if to search for, and characterise, habitable environments – places where the conditions necessary for life could have existed sometime in the distant past, or even today.  Curiosity has already found evidence for extensive ancient lakes that could have supported life as we know it, diverse and complex organic molecules in ancient rocks, and seasonal cycles of atmospheric gases even today.  The Mars 2020 rover, NASA’s next rover, will go a step further and seek out biosignatures – or indicators of possible life in ancient rocks.  It will even collect samples that will be brought back to Earth at a later date for more detailed study and to possibly answer the question “Are we alone?”.  This presentation will summarise how we explore Mars with a rover, some of the key findings from Curiosity and may use lessons learned to better prepare for future robotic and human missions to Mars.

avatar for Dr. Richard Léveillé

Dr. Richard Léveillé

Adjunct professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences, McGill University | McGill Space Institute
Planetary scientist and geology professor at McGill University and John Abbott College. Mars Science Laboratory Participating Scientist. Founding member and co-lead of the Canadian Astrobiology Network. Former Canadian Space Agency research scientist. Searching for life on Mars and... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 9:30am - 9:50am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

9:50am EDT

Influence of Lunar Rover on Lunar Surface Temperature
The lunar regolith is a very poor thermal conductor. As a result, the temperature of the surface can fluctuate quickly as the environment changes.  For terrestrial applications it is common to assume that the planet’s surface is fixed at an appropriate temperature. The properties of the lunar regolith indicate that this approach may not be valid for a lunar rover which will experience a varying radiative environment resulting from the presence of the rover itself.
This paper demonstrates the implementation of a published lunar regolith model in NX SST and investigates the influence of a simplified lunar rover on the surface temperature and the impact of these changes on rover thermal performance.

avatar for Dr. Chris Pye

Dr. Chris Pye

Vice President, Maya HTT
Dr. Pye has been with Maya HTT for over 30 years and has been involved in the Space industry for even longer. He has worked on over 20 space missions for Canadian and other customers, mostly in the area of thermal control. During his time at Maya HTT he has also worked as a software... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 9:50am - 10:10am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

10:10am EDT

3D vision studies for EuroMoonMars 2018 campaign
There is an increased need for interdisciplinary involvement and public input and awareness for future space missions. The International Lunar Exploration Working Group is a public forum for the world's space agencies to support international cooperation towards developing strategies for exploration and utilization of the Moon. To support this goal, since 2008 ILEWG has been developing a research program called EuroMoonMars for research, technology, field work and training with a robotic lander test bench (ExoGeoLab) and mobile laboratory habitat (ExoHab) at ESTEC. Several field studies and tests have been done to develop systems, share knowledge, and collaborate to progress further on the way to the MoonVillage. This past summer a stereo vision system prototype was developed to perform 3D mapping of unknown terrains in order to help assist in navigation and identification of science opportunities. In addition, collaboration between rotorcraft and ground based-systems for more efficient exploration were investigated. This paper will discuss the recent work performed by the EuroMoonMars group with emphasis on newly developed vision systems and results.

avatar for Sandro Papais

Sandro Papais

ILEWG EuroMoonMars Trainee, European Space Agency (ESA/ESTEC)
Sandro Papais is a mechanical engineering student at McGill University. He was an intern with the International Lunar Exploration Working Group (ILEWG) at the European Space Agency (ESA/ESTEC) under the supervision of Prof. Bernard Foing. He previously worked at Pratt & Whitney Canada... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 10:10am - 10:30am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

11:00am EDT

Swarm Systems for Space Exploration
We are currently on the verge of a new technology revolution---autonomous systems are becoming more and more present in our everyday lives. From drones to self-driving cars, these systems are becoming pervasive, and are acting as an enabling technology for many kinds of safety-critical applications, also in space. Examples of applications are search-and-rescue operations, industrial and agricultural inspection, autonomous car driving, planetary exploration, and satellite mega-constellations. Despite this ambitious vision, the major achievements in the area of swarm systems still consist of algorithms that tackle specific problem instances, and the performance of these algorithms strongly depends upon the context in which they are developed. Given this state of affairs, reproducing results and comparing algorithms is difficult, hindering the development of swarm robotics as a whole. We present a novel paradigm for the development of complex swarm behaviors. It offers a small, but powerful set of operations to specify behaviors both in a swarm-wide fashion, and from the point of view of an individual device. This swarm-oriented programming offers the promise of letting a designer program thousands of autonomous systems (e.g. robots, satellites) in a manageable way. This talk will present the overall swarm-oriented approach, as well as practical examples in the area of planetary exploration.

avatar for Dr. Giovanni Beltrame

Dr. Giovanni Beltrame

Professor, Polytechnique Montreal
Giovanni Beltrame obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering fromPolitecnico di Milano, in 2006 after which he worked as microelectronicsengineer at the European Space Agency on a number of projects spanningfrom radiation-tolerant systems to computer-aided design. In 2010 hemoved... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 11:00am - 11:20am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
  Space Exploration

11:20am EDT

Prospects for Space Exploration
Space exploration has cemented its position as the ultimate frontier, attracting not only the interest of an increasing number of governments but also the private sector.

Historic space players have been deeply involved in space exploration missions since the nineteen-sixties. Since these early beginnings, the number of countries involved in space exploration has expanded considerably. Moving forward, space agencies worldwide are evaluating the future of space exploration with a converging interest in the Moon as the next destination for human spaceflight beyond LEO. Meanwhile, international partners discuss the future of the ISS, while robotic missions to the Moon, Mars and other destinations are being planned.

In the last ten years there has been a significant increase in the number of private space exploration activities. Private entities see new economic and commercial opportunities derived from space exploration. This rise of commercial space exploration initiatives is redistributing the cards between the government and industry in defining the agenda for space exploration.

This talk will provide an overview of the prospects of space exploration. This will include a review on the global strategic priorities in space exploration, government investment, involvement of commercial organizations and the role of that public-private partnerships might play moving forward. 

avatar for Natalia Larrea Brito

Natalia Larrea Brito

Senior Consultant, Euroconsult
Natalia Larrea is a Senior Consultant at Euroconsult based in Montreal. In her role, she manages and contributes to consulting missions for government and private institutions in the fields of space exploration, Earth observation, and satellite communications. She focuses on the assessment... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 11:20am - 11:40am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
  Space Exploration

11:40am EDT

Moon Express Commercial Lunar Missions: Developing a cis-Lunar Space Economy
Moon Express’ vision is to open the lunar frontier with turn-key payload, data and services for missions to the Moon for a wide range of customers globally, including governments, NGO’s, commercial enterprises, universities, and consumers.
Like the Earth, the Moon has been enriched with vast resources through billions of years of bombardment by asteroids and comets. Unlike the Earth, these resources are largely on or near the lunar surface, and therefore relatively accessible. Moon Express is blazing a trail to the Moon to seek and harvest these resources to support a new space renaissance, where economic trade between countries will eventually become trade between worlds. All Moon Express expeditions will prospect for materials on the Moon as candidates for economic development and in-situ resource utilization.
One of the greatest practical space discoveries of our generation is the presence of vast quantities of water on the Moon. Water not only supports life but its constituents, hydrogen and oxygen, are energetic and clean rocket fuel. The discovery of water on the Moon is a game changer, not just for the economic viability of lunar resources, but for the economics of humans reaching Mars and other deep space destinations. Water is the oil of the solar system, and the Moon can become a gas station in the sky to fuel human space exploration, development and settlement of the solar system. Moon Express will begin prospecting for water resources on the Moon with its very first expedition.
Moon Express has developed a family of flexible, scalable robotic explorers that can reach the Moon and other solar system destinations from Earth orbit. The MX spacecraft architecture supports multiple applications, including delivery of scientific and commercial payloads to the Moon at low cost using a rideshare model, or charter science expeditions to distant worlds.
Designed for Scout Class exploration capabilities starting from low Earth orbit, MX-1 delivers flexibility and performance to revolutionize access to the Moon and cis-lunar space.
Dual stage flexibility drives more payload to the lunar surface or extends the reach to deep space. Compatible with existing and emergent launch vehicles, the MX-2 delivers Scout Class possibilities for exploration and commerce at low cost.
Designed as a workhorse that can deliver 150kg to low lunar orbit from low Earth orbit, with a range of configurations to support lunar landing and cis-lunar operations, the MX-5 can also be outfitted with MX-1 or MX-2 staged systems that can bring the entire solar system within reach. Available in orbiter, lander, deep space probe and sample return configurations.
Designed for Frontier Class exploration capabilities, MX-9 will support robust lunar sample return operations. Like it’s MX-5 little brother, the MX-9 can also be outfitted with MX-1 or MX-2 staged systems that can deliver over 10kms ΔV and extend its reach to span the solar system, and beyond.

avatar for Dr. Alain Berinstain

Dr. Alain Berinstain

VP Global Development, Moon Express Inc
Alain Berinstain was born and raised in Montreal and worked at the Canadian Space Agency for 17 years. Among other responsibilities, he was Director of Planetary Exploration and Space Astronomy as well as Director of Science and Academic Development at CSA. He now is now Vice President... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 11:40am - 12:00pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

12:45pm EDT

Development of Canadian Orbital Launch Capabilities for the Microsat Market
The bulk of satellites launched have historically been large scientific or telecommunication satellites weighting thousands of kilograms. However, in recent years, COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) technologies and miniaturization trends have created a surge in interest towards microsatellites2. The emergence of these new technologies has allowed new actors to develop smaller and more cost- effective satellites to perform the same missions at a fraction of the weight. In 2016, there were 101 microsatellites launched. Over the next 10 years, there is an expected 19.7% compound annual growth rate3 of satellite launch worldwide. This highlights the short-term requirements of the launch market, expected to be worth around $62 billion over the next 10 years with 11,631 Smallsats (10 – 300 kg) launched through 20301.
However, due to the lack of operational dedicated launchers, microsatellites are often constrained to launch as secondary payloads alongside larger satellites. This situation requires microsatellite operators to adapt to the primary payload’s timeline, as well as their less than optimal orbits.

Reaction Dynamics is pioneering the Canadian space industry by developing the first Canadian orbital launcher. With it’s proprietary hybrid rocket fuel technology, the company aims to target the microsatellite market which is poised to grow to $62.2 billion over the next ten years.

avatar for Bachar Elzein

Bachar Elzein

CEO & CTO, Reaction Dynamics
Founder, CEO & CTO of Reaction Dynamics. Research associate at the multiphase and reactive flows lab in propulsion & combustion dynamics. Mechanical engineering at Polytechnique.

Friday October 19, 2018 12:45pm - 1:05pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
  Launch Capability

1:05pm EDT

From Canada to Orbit
How do you get a satellite into space, especially if you don’t want to leave the comfort of a country like Canada? This presentation will cover some of the safety, operational and regulatory aspects facing the launch market in Canada today.

avatar for Neil Woodcock

Neil Woodcock

Chief Operations Officer, Reaction Dynamics
Neil Woodcock is the Chief Operations Officer of Reaction Dynamics, a Canadian startup intending to manufacture and operate small satellite launch vehicles. He previously worked as the Space Concordia Rocketry Division’s technical lead and as Space Concordia’s President. He obtained... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 1:05pm - 1:20pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
  Launch Capability

1:20pm EDT

Grassroots Aerospace Innovation and the Canadian Rocket Innovation Challenge
Many people think of innovation as coming from either industry or academia, but from Robert Goddard to Wernher von Braun to many of today’s leading rocket entrepreneurs, the history of aerospace has in fact been shaped by people who began as amateurs. Countries that recognize and support this grassroots talent and create an ecosystem in which it can thrive can harness an unmatched drive and passion to learn and innovate, at very little cost, and this has been proven time and time again.

Here in Canada, there is an unprecedented surge of grassroots interest in rocketry, particularly among students. The space launch industry is changing rapidly, driven by game-changing companies like SpaceX and RocketLab, and Canadians want to be a part of it. There are now almost 20 student rocket teams across the country, many of them undertaking cutting-edge sounding rocket work, and regularly winning a disproportionate number of the top honours at the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC), a major rocket competition in the United States.

Yet many of them face a relative lack of support in Canada. They currently have few options to pursue their rocketry work at home, and few avenues available for support. Moreover, Canadian teams that develop their own propulsion systems typically don’t even have the ability to launch their rockets here due to the un-supportive regulatory environment and a lack of places from which to fly. All too often, these exceptionally bright, motivated Canadians have no choice but to either abandon their passion, or leave the country. In an increasingly competitive high-tech economy, Canada cannot afford to keep losing this talent.

With the seed funding of several private donors, a new effort is underway to help change this. To help Canada’s rocket innovators to pursue their activities, collaborate, learn and thrive, we are creating Canada’s first-ever rocketry competition. Using an incentive prize model, this competition will for the first time bring together Canada’s rocketry community from coast to coast with cash prizes to incentivize the development of significant rocket propulsion and launch vehicle technologies with a bold, entrepreneurial mindset. It will help develop a pipeline of highly skilled, knowledgeable and experienced aerospace professionals through challenging hands-on rocket engineering projects and will use the excitement of rocketry to promote STEM education. The competition aims to become a recurring event that will elevate the profile of rocketry in Canada, and amateur rocketry in particular, provide a highly visible showcase of Canadian exceptionalism, and help to create an environment where talented and motivated individuals and teams are supported in their efforts to dare great things.

avatar for Adam Trumpour

Adam Trumpour

President, Launch Canada Rocketry Association
Adam is a rocket and gas turbine propulsion professional with broad involvement in the industry. He is a turbine engine concept designer at Pratt & Whitney Canada and a founding partner of Continuum Aerospace, a small company devoted to engineering consulting and developing innovative... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 1:20pm - 1:45pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
  Launch Capability

2:15pm EDT

Development of a Flight-ready, small-scale, Rotating Detonation Engine
For the last 20 years, there has been a search for new propulsion devices based on detonation waves as the main process of energy conversion. Detonation waves are a specific type of chemical reaction process during which a reactant mixture is initially compressed by a strong shock wave to a very high pressure and temperature, thereby triggering high rates of chemical reaction and energy release. The presence of strong shock waves within the structure of detonation waves means that high levels of thrust can be achieved with a lower degree of initial compression. The high pressures and temperatures involved during the chemical reactions also makes it possible to achieve higher thermodynamic efficiency. Possible detonation wave based engines explored so far include the pulse detonation engine (PDE), the oblique detonation wave engine (ODWE) and, for the last 10 years, the rotating detonation engine (RDE). The RDE is of particular interest as it can produce thrust at zero vehicle speed, unlike the ODWE; it involves only a single ignition event unlike the required high frequency repetitive ignitions of PDEs; and exhibits a globally steady flow field, unlike the inherently pulsatile flow of PDEs, making traditional nozzle technologies adaptable to the RDE. Given that the detonation waves travel circumferentially in an RDE, the device is also more compact and thus potentially lighter than PDEs and conventional chemical rocket engines.
In this presentation, we outline the preliminary design procedure of an RDE and its fuel and oxidizer feed systems for a small-scale (roughly 10 cm diameter) rocket. There are multiple design considerations for the development of an RDE for rocket flight applications. Beyond minimizing the engine weight, mass flow rate and fuel type have a direct impact on the engine’s configuration as well as the material selection. In an RDE of a given size and fuel type, a minimum mass flow rate must be achieved to sustain a single, rotating detonation. This minimum mass flow rate is a function of the reactant mixture injection thermodynamic state, as well as its detonation properties. The reactant mixture must detonate easily and exhibit a small detonation cell size. Furthermore, the fuel and oxidizer are more easily stored in liquid form, which either places additional constraints on the rocket design or means using less detonable reactant mixtures. In the current work, we explore the design of H2/O2, C2H4/O2 and C2H4/N2O fueled engines. The effect of weight reduction on the engine heat loading is examined for short burn durations using one-dimensional models.


Sean Connolly-Boutin

Masters Student, Concordia University
Space enthusiast and recent Concordia University graduate pursuing a masters in mechanical engineering. I have been involved with Prof. Kiyanda, pursuing studies in the field of compressible, reactive flows applied to aerospace propulsion.

Slater Covenden

Aerospace Eng., Concordia University
Space enthusiast studying at Concordia University, I have recently been involved in conducting research under prof. Kiyanda on supersonic compressible flow.

Friday October 19, 2018 2:15pm - 2:35pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

2:35pm EDT

PERWAVES combustion experiment performed on the Maxus 9 sounding rocket

The combustion of metal suspensions occupies an important place in modern technology, such as propulsion or chemical safety. Metals have even been proposed as a possible carbon-free energy carrier as well as a propellant for in-situ production on the Moon or on Mars. It has been discovered that for a given field of parameters, the heterogeneous flames exhibit an unusual behavior. The flame cease to propagate as continuous fronts and become dominated by discrete effects, leading to low-velocity percolation-like propagation. This phenomenon has been reported in other areas of science such as in self-propagating high-temperature synthesis (SHS), chemical kinetics, or biology; the study of discrete flames in metal suspensions may therefore be crucial in understanding front propagation in many of these systems. Due to particle settling and buoyancy-driven disruptions of the flame, both caused by gravity, a clear parametric study of discrete flames can only be realized in microgravity environments. This lead to the PERWAVES experiment, performed in a microgravity environment aboard the European Space Agency sounding rocket Maxus 9, launched on April 7th, 2017. The tests involved the propagation of flames of iron suspensions dispersed in oxygen/xenon gas. The particle concentration was varied and two different oxygen/xenon proportions, 20%/80% and 40%/60% respectively, were used. It was found that flames propagate at low average speed (~1 cm/s), insensitive to combustion time of individual particles, in agreement with discrete regime predictions.

avatar for Jan Palecka

Jan Palecka

PhD student, McGill University
PhD student in Mechanical Engineering, working in the area of Combustion and Reactive Materials. My main specialization is heterogeneous combustion in metal suspensions. During my PhD, I have been tasked with the preaparation and analysis of the PERWAVES project, which has been performed... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 2:35pm - 2:55pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

2:55pm EDT

Bringing Interstellar Travel Down to Earth
Recent advances in photonics and related fields have driven the development of technologies that may make interstellar flight a reality for people alive today. Specifically, the development of low-cost fiber-based lasers, which have followed a Moore’s Law-like growth in recent decades, would enable millions of lasers to be built in a modular fashion and then phase-locked together and act as a single optical element, able to focus their power onto a reflected sail (lightsail) that can be accelerated to 20% the speed of light in a matter of minutes.  Other technologies, such as low absorptivity materials (originally developed for fiber optic telecom) and the incredible miniaturization of sensors, gyros, etc., driven by the smartphone wars, means that an interstellar spacecraft massing just one gram could be sent to flyby nearby exoplanets and then beam HD-quality images back to earth in a 20-year mission. A number of technical challenges exist, however, ongoing work in the lab seeks to drive down the technological uncertainties. In this talk, a nascent research program at McGill University to examine the engineering aspects of this concept—focused on the dynamics of the light sail material and its response to dust grain impacts—will be presented, and intersections between laser-driven starflight and more down-to-earth technologies will be explored. 

avatar for Dr. Andrew Higgins

Dr. Andrew Higgins

Professor, McGill University
Professor of Mechanical Engineering, performing research on ultra-high-speed dynamic phenomena with application to advanced spaceflight concepts.

Friday October 19, 2018 2:55pm - 3:15pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

3:45pm EDT

The use of GPS/GNSS on Earth and in space
Today, the Global Positioning System (GPS) developed by the U.S. Department of Defense is essential for countless applications. Of course, it provides good positioning (~m) for vehicles or pedestrians, but it can also provide very precise positioning (~dm or cm) for surveying or agriculture. Not forgetting the transmission of a very accurate time (~ns) for communication systems or financial networks.
Also, from almost the beginning of the GPS, the question of its use in space was studied, but it took some time and experience before its actual use. Today, it is common to find GPS receivers on board low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, and a lot of research and development is going on regarding its use in higher orbits, even above the GNSS constellations. To date, the farthest position obtained thanks to GPS was at an altitude around 150 000 km.
Now, with the availability of three other global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), namely GLONASS (Russia), Galileo (Europe) and BeiDou (China), and the availability of civilian signals on several frequencies, the use of navigation satellite systems will continue growing, offering better performance and better security.
In this talk, we will first present the GNSS, with a brief history, the current status of the different systems, a summary of their applications, a description of the space segment, and an introduction to the GNSS signals and the basic operation of a GNSS receiver.
In a second part, we will focus on the use of GNSS in space, describing the different challenges, namely the very weak signals, the unfavorable geometry and the high dynamics.


Dr. Jérôme Leclère

Research professional, ÉTS
Jérôme Leclère received his Ph.D. in the GNSS field from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, in 2014. Since 2015, he is with the Laboratory of Space Technologies, Embedded Systems, Navigation and Avionic (LASSENA), at École de Technologie Supérieure... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 3:45pm - 4:05pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

4:05pm EDT

Space Autonomy and Making Mobile Vehicles Intelligent
In the past, the navigation, guidance and control of Earth satellites relied extensively on human intelligence at the ground station instead of computer intelligence on-board the spacecraft. With recent developments in powerful space-qualified microcomputers, model-based design techniques, automatic code generation and failure-detection-identification techniques, there is now a trend to transfer some of the decision-making to the on-board system, transforming the ground operations from detailed task planning to higher-level supervisory activities. In contribution to this trend, the European Space Agency (ESA) initiated the PRoject for On-Board Autonomy (PROBA) series of satellite missions, with the objective to demonstrate the benefits of on-board autonomy, in particular, in the area of Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC). This presentation will describe the PROBA design and operation philosophy, and highlight the various GNC innovations that were demonstrated in orbit. Then, this talk will present how this design philosophy is extended to the development of autonomous GNC technologies for planetary exploration vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), such as hazard detection and avoidance, vision-based navigation, real-time mobile mapping, autonomous or pilot-assisted guidance and control for UAV. Ultimately, these technologies are making mobile vehicles intelligent, by increasing their autonomy, performance, reliability and safety while, at the same time, reducing their operational costs. 


Pamela Woo

Guidance, Navigation and Control Engineer, NGC Aerospace Ltd.
Pamela Woo is a Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) Engineer at NGC Aerospace. Her expertise is in the development of Attitude and Orbit Control System (AOCS) software for satellites. She is currently working on the spacecraft GNC software for the ESA PROBA-3 formation flight mission... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 4:05pm - 4:25pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

4:25pm EDT

Modern Challenges in Orbital Mechanics
Orbital mechanics is the field of study of orbits and trajectories for celestial bodies and spacecraft. It plays a key role in the design of any space mission. Many tools and methods are available to the industry and researchers nowadays to help them perform these calculations. However, the space sector is changing and this brings innovitative new ideas and new requirements on the table for space mission design. To keep up, the approaches used in orbital mechanics must also change. This presentation attempts to be a brief introduction to the field of orbital mechanics and to present some of the most important challenges that the discipline of orbital mechanics faces in this modern era of space travel.

avatar for Alexandre Levert

Alexandre Levert

Alumnus, Cranfield University
Graduate from a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering at Polytechnique Montreal and from a Master of Astronautics and Space Engineering at Cranfield University. Expertise in Spacecraft and Mission Analysis and Design. Performed research on numerical methods for computation of periodic... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 4:25pm - 4:45pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
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