Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Departmental Colloquium -Exploring the Universe from space – Canada’s contribution to space astronomy and exploration of the solar system

Denis Laurin
Senior Program Scientist at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA),
Space Exploration branch for space astronomy

Date: Friday October 20th, 2017
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Location: Stirling A


Astronomy has made tremendous progress by observations from space.  We better understand our neighbouring planets by visiting them.  Startling discoveries have been made in recent years: We now recognize that extrasolar planets are plentiful and that liquid water may periodically flow on the surface of Mars in the present day.  By contributing to large space telescopes, to putting our own instruments on surface of Mars, Canadian researchers have access to some of the best facilities.  This is made possible through collaboration with other space agencies. 

Exploration of the universe is strongly science driven and technology enabled.  Making advances requires state-of-the-art technology which drives innovation – from the need for the most sensitive detectors to tiny robust instruments for planetary rovers.  Researchers and students at universities across Canada are enabled to do world-class research.

l’ll describe some of the recent CSA contributions to space exploration and astronomy, and what the near future could hold; such as the possibility of detecting signs of life or biomarkers, perhaps with the soon to be launched JWST.  I’ll describe also the Exploration Program at CSA, planning, mission roadmapping, opportunities for researchers including preparatory studies from ideas to concepts, to technology development and HQP development, and our interaction with CASCA and consultations with the community.

Short bio

Denis Laurin is Senior Program Scientist at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) in Space Exploration branch for space astronomy.  He obtained a BASc in Physics from University of Waterloo and then a MASc and PhD from University of Toronto’s Institute for Aerospace Studies.   He joined the CSA in 1993, first working at NRC Ottawa on laser applications, moved to CSA HQ near Montreal for advancing the technology for space applications, followed by 2 years at the NRC Herzberg in Victoria, BC, working on optical designs for the 30-m telescope; he then returned to CSA HQ to join the Space Exploration strategic planning group.