Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has recently announced that Canada will participate in the new space exploration project devised by NASA. While the news should be great, some citizens will doubt the utility or necessity to spend public funds on such a venture.
The new project involves an accelerated development of the United States Lunar Gateway, which is seen as an advanced version of the International Space Station. Depending on who you are asking this is either a good thing or a bad thing. The history of the ISS is quite convoluted as decades were needed to design and construct the station, which has contributed to some level to the advancement of science but didn’t provide any spectacular results.
Canada’s contribution to the ISS is represented by a pair of robot arms, which includes the iconic Canadarm 2. They were made by a Canadian company called McDonald Dettwiller and Associates (MDA) Ltd, and a significant amount of tax money was spent on them. The immediate benefits were seats on the ISS for the Canadian astronauts. Chris Hadfield, one of the most popular Canadian astronauts, strived to raise the awareness of Canada’s contribution to the ISS and he succeeded.
Canada Has to Revamp the National Lunar Exploration Strategy
Once again, Canada will offer a new robotic arm, called the Canadarm 3, which will be mounted on the advanced orbital space station. It will be manufactured by the same company, and we will receive seats for Canadian on the advanced orbital station.
Voices are already raising against this plan. A few condemn the fact that the Canadian Space Agency continues to use the services of a singular company instead of looking at other enterprises which should be able to provide competitive alternatives. Others criticize Canada’s minor ambitions as a country. While the other participants in the project are working hard to develop strategies which will allow them to build a veritable lunar colony Canada seems content to remain a mere observer.
Unless our strategy is revised and improved, we will remain a witness to the greatness of others, while paying for the privilege.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca