In the News

  • June 14, 2024
    Meteorite impact leaves rare rocks and evidence of extreme heat at remote lake in Quebec
    Osinski, Neeraja Chinchalkar, the research technician at Western’s Earth and Planetary Materials Analysis (EPMA) Laboratory, and their collaborators have now discovered new evidence that another meteorite impact once caused equally extreme (and respectively rare) high temperatures, exceeding 2,370 °C (4,172 °F), at another remote impact structure in northern Quebec.

  • May 29, 2024
    Western space experts test new rover instrument
    Western planetary geologists Livio Tornabene and Gordon Osinski are leading an international team to better understand how clays formed on Mars. Supported by a three-year Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Flights and Fieldwork for the Advancement of Science and Technology (FAST) grant, the researchers will provide important contributions to the European Space Agency’s ExoMars 2028 Rosalind Franklin rover mission.

  • May 24, 2024
    Tour de force: Western Space researchers chart Orion Nebula like never before
    Western University astrophysicists Els Peeters and Jan Cami and postdoctoral and graduate researchers Ryan Chown, Ameek Sidhu, Baria Khan, Sofia Pasquini and Bethany Schefter were among the first scientists in the world to use the James Webb space telescope (Webb) for scientific research, and the focus was star formation.

  • May 24, 2024
    Record warming: How should Canada, its cities and citizens adapt?
    In January 2024, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) announced 2023 as the hottest year on record since 1850. On May 8, the C3S reported the record-breaking temperature streak had extended, with the world experiencing its hottest April on record.

  • February 09, 2024
    Hubble traces “string of pearls” star clusters in galaxy collisions
    Galaxy collisions do not destroy stars, though this might seem to contradict conventional wisdom, not to mention storylines in countless Hollywood blockbusters. In fact, according to researchers, the rough-and-tumble dynamics trigger new generations of stars, and presumably accompanying planets. Since its launch into low Earth orbit in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has gathered dozens of terabytes of data, including a multitude of interstellar images, providing invaluable information for astronomers like Western University’s Sarah Gallagher.

  • January 31, 2024
    Cutting-edge Western science research highlights role of collaboration
    Discovering new molecules in space. Creating a salmonella vaccine for poultry – from plants. Analyzing how fear impacts animal brains in the long term. Three wildly distinct Western research projects, but all with a central connection: a focus on bringing together scientists from multiple fields to drive solutions. PhD candidates presented a series of collaborative projects on Jan. 16 at the Fallona Family Interdisciplinary Science Award and Lecture, ahead of a keynote from Western neuroscientist Jörn Diedrichsen.

  • September 13, 2023
    Western researchers to probe greenhouse gases at city landfill
    “It’s very important we limit methane emissions as much as possible because it is a really potent greenhouse gas. Dumps make methane, that’s just a normal process of decomposing – it’s not like you can prevent that from happening,” said Sarah Gallagher, an astrophysicist and director of the Institute for Earth and Space Exploration.

  • August 03, 2023
    Western researchers capture stunning images of Ring Nebula with James Webb Space Telescope
    The images, released today by an international team of astronomers, including Jan Cami, Els Peeters and Nicholas Clark from Western’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration, showcase the nebula’s intricate and ethereal beauty in unprecedented detail, providing scientists and the public with a mesmerizing view of this celestial wonder.

  • June 26, 2023
    Western researchers part of Webb carbon molecule discovery
    Western University astrophysicists Els Peeters and Jan Cami are core members of the international collaboration with Peeters serving as co-lead investigator of Webb’s Photodissociation Regions for All (PDRs4All ID 1288), an Early Release Science Program on radiative feedback from massive stars.

  • June 02, 2023
    Western mini-satellite to launch aboard SpaceX as second mission spreads its wings 
    A Western research team led by Engineering professor Jayshri Sabarinathan started with a CCP initiative and has worked in collaboration with Nunavut Arctic College (NAC) since 2018 to create a CubeSat named Ukpik-1.

  • February 27, 2023
    These red dots could change everything we think we know about how galaxies form
    Canadian extragalactic astronomer Sarah Gallagher, says It's possible that these red dots aren't galaxies at all, but rather some other source of light like a supermassive black hole or a quasar.

  • January 02, 2023
    Moonshots, meteors and planets: Here are just a few things to look forward to in space in 2023 Social Sharing
    Fast forward to what is deemed the best meteor shower of the year. The Perseids, which run from the middle of July to the beginning of September, peak on the night of Aug. 12–13 this year.

  • September 12, 2022
    Western researchers among first to capture James Webb Space Telescope images
    These images have been obtained as part of the Early Release Science program Photodissociation Regions for All (PDRs4All ID 1288) on Webb.

  • August 03, 2022
    Western team achieves international holographic teleportation
    Holographic teleportation sounds like something out of Star Wars or Star Trek, but instead of the bridge of a flashy interstellar spaceship, a futuristic technological achievement took place in a nondescript boardroom on campus at Western recently.

  • July 12, 2022
    Canadian-made tools on Webb space telescope help provide spectacular views of space
    “It was so hard, and just the fact that all of these people working together around the world were able to make something so beautiful, so precise, so functional, and it’s delivering exactly or even better than promised.” - Dr. Sarah Gallagher

  • May 12, 2022
    Black Hole Image Reveals the Beast Inside the Milky Way’s Heart
    Both observations are glorious in their own right: beautiful results that are “an affirmation of the scientific process,” said Dr. Sarah Gallagher

  • May 09, 2022
    James Webb Space Telescope captures sharpest ever views of universe in ‘extraordinary milestone for humanity’
    “I was absolutely thrilled,” said Els Peeters, an astronomer at Western University in London, Ont., who will be among the first to use the new telescope as part of a project to study hydrocarbon molecules in space.

  • April 06, 2022
    Western crew preps Space Station-bound astronaut for Ax-1 mission
    Researchers at the Institute for Earth and Space Exploration (Western Space) have worked with Canadian Mark Pathy, who is one of the astronauts boarding Ax-1, to help the entrepreneur and philanthropist fulfill the theme of his 10-day mission plan: Caring for People and the Planet.

  • February 27, 2022
    Space centre planned for Cochrane, Ont., aims to train future astronauts
    Institutions like Western University in London, Ont., and the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, have come on board as partners that will send students and researchers to the space centre.

  • February 18, 2022
    Canadian Space Agency funds Western’s effort to get more youth into STEM
    Dr. Sabarinathan and her colleagues from Western Space and the faculties of engineering and science, are working with five industry partners on the project: Mission Control Space Services Inc., Ingenium, steamlabs, Exploring by the Seat of your Pants, MDA.

  • January 28, 2022
    Future dreams in view as Canadian instruments power up aboard James Webb Space Telescope – The Globe and Mail
    The Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS) and the Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS), both instruments were built in Ottawa, were switched on for the first time since the mammoth astronomical satellite was launched.

  • January 05, 2022
    NASA nails trickiest job on newly launched space telescope
    "The 7-ton James Webb Space Telescope is so big that the sunshield and the primary gold-plated mirror had to be folded for launch. The sunshield is especially unwieldly -- it spans 70 feet by 46 feet (21 metr3s by 14 metr3s) to keep all the infrared, heat-sensing science instruments in constant subzero shadow."

  • December 25, 2021
    Highlights From the James Webb Space Telescope’s Long-Awaited Launch
    In French Guiana, the most powerful space observatory ever built lifted off Christmas morning.

  • December 21, 2021
    What the Webb hopes to catch
    More than 25 years in the making, Webb is the first telescope large enough and precise enough to make such a measurement from space, where the infrared light that is most revealing about other worlds is not blocked by Earth’s atmosphere. And that’s just the beginning.

  • December 10, 2021
    NASA's 10 billion dollar space telescope is finally going to launch — with CanCon
    Sarah Gallagher, a professor of physics and astronomy at Western University and the scientific advisor for the president of the Canadian Space Agency, said Canada contributed two key instruments to the telescope. The first, a fine guidance system, will help the telescope lock on to different astronomical objects. The other — a scientific instrument — will use infrared wavelengths to capture images that can penetrate dust and gas to see the light that lies beyond.

  • October 06, 2021
    Sarah Gallagher takes helm at Western Space: New director shares vision for interdisciplinary space research collaboration
    Dr. Sarah Gallagher said she would like to build on Western’s strengths in space research; build capacity in Earth and atmospheric observations; tap into more big-data analysis; and continue to work with governments on solving big, universal problems.

  • July 12, 2021
    Space Resource Discussions in the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
    Plans for the extraction of water and minerals in outer space – particularly on the Moon – are developing faster than international law is evolving to address this reality. As a result, the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) held informal consultations during its recent 2021 annual session to consider the theme of ‘exploration, exploitation and utilization of space resources’. COPUOS was established in 1959 to govern the peaceful exploration and use of space for the benefit of humanity. In 1961, COPUOS’ Legal Subcommittee was formed to meet annually for two weeks to discuss legal questions related to the exploration and use of outer space.

  • May 27, 2021
    Space grant helps Western expand Moon research
    The Canadian Space Agency announced Wednesday it intends to land a micro-rover on the Moon within the next five years as part of a partnership with NASA. And as the two agencies prepare for that giant leap, Western Space will play a major role in helping understand what they may find when they get there.

  • May 27, 2021
    Newly discovered ‘glaciers’ could aid human survival on Mars
    With Elon Musk keen to settle on Mars, and NASA planning its own human missions, there’s more to it than finding a safe place to land on the red planet. When it’s no longer just robots, rovers and drones arriving, accessing the untapped abundance of ice that lies beneath the Martian surface will be key for astronauts too.

  • May 20, 2021
    Scientist set to explore massive stars with NASA telescope An international team, including Western Space scientist Els Peeters, will use NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to study the Orion Bar.
    An international team, including Els Peeters from Western University’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration, will use NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (scheduled to launch in October 2021) to study a portion of the radiated cloud called the Orion Bar to learn more about the influence massive stars have on their environments, and even on the formation of our own solar system.

  • April 22, 2021
    Exploring space medicine
    For as long as Shozab Ahmed can remember, he’s been fascinated with space. He remembers just how in awe he felt watching Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (Episode III) as a child, as he wondered about what possibilities the universe offered.

  • April 05, 2021
    Space mining is not science fiction, and Canada could figure prominently
    In this era of climate crisis, space mining is a topic of increasing relevance. The need for a net-zero carbon economy requires a surge in the supply of non-renewable natural resources such as battery metals. This forms the background to a new space race involving nations and the private sector.

  • February 17, 2021
    ‘Perseverance’ pays off for Western Space alumnus
    When it comes to space missions, Raymond Francis has been there and has the cool NASA T-shirts to prove it. But it doesn’t mean launches and landings aren’t still exciting for the Western alumnus. As an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Francis has a front row seat, and a big role to play, when the Perseverance rover touches down on Mars on Thursday, February 18.

  • February 08, 2021
    Project mines new frontiers in outer-space law Science is outpacing policies for responsible resource extraction in space.
    Two Western Law professors have launched a research project into laws governing space mining. The growing demand for non-renewable natural resources, such as minerals used in batteries, has brought increased attention to the potential of exploiting resources in space for use on Earth – and the laws that govern such activities need to keep pace. The new project, spearheaded by Valerie Oosterveld and Elizabeth Steyn, will examine if international environmental law (IEL) can be employed to address gaps in the regulation of space mining.

  • January 14, 2021
    How Canada is training the next lunar astronauts
    Western University’s space geology training is suddenly a trending topic. After years educating astronauts in Canada and other countries, the university is potentially on the leading edge of assisting a new effort: to send a Canadian to lunar orbit by 2023. This historic mission, known as Artemis II, may usher in a series of Moon-landing missions similar to what we saw during the Apollo program in the 1960s and 1970s. These landings may start in 2024 and, subject to budget and technology and commitment, continue indefinitely.

  • December 18, 2020
    Year in review: Western Space looking for life in all the right places
    In its first full year, Western Space explored, discovered, dreamed – and became recognized as one of the leading authorities for all things terrestrial and extra-.

  • December 16, 2020
    The Artemis missions: humanity's return to the Moon
    The global space community is preparing for the Artemis program, a multi-mission campaign that will push human space exploration deeper into space to the Moon and on to Mars.

  • December 07, 2020
    'Christmas Star': Jupiter and Saturn to be in closest alignment in nearly 400 years
    According to NASA's Night Sky Network, Jupiter and Saturn have been gradually moving closer together since the summer in what is called a conjunction. The space agency says conjunctions occur every 20 years between planets, with the "great conjunction" between Jupiter and Saturn being the rarest.

  • November 13, 2020
    Team Processes and Outcomes During the AMADEE-18 Mars Analog Mission
    The aim of this study was to examine team functioning within the context of the AMADEE 18 Mars analog project, which took place in Oman in the winter of 2018. Five “Analog Astronauts” participated in this study. Each completed measures of individual-level variables, including demographics and personality, before the simulated Mars mission began. At several time points during the mission, and once at the end, participants completed measures of individual stress reactions, and teamwork-related variables, including several types of team conflict, citizenship behavior, in-role behavior, counterproductive behavior, and social loafing. Each participant also reported how well he or she felt the team performed. The results indicate an overall positive, successful teamwork experience. Factors including measurement issues, psychological simulation fidelity, and qualities of the team likely influenced these results. Measuring important team- and individual-level variables during additional space analog events, while considering factors related to psychological fidelity, will allow for the compilation of data to better understand the factors affecting teams in these unusual contexts.

  • September 24, 2020
    Western Space Signs deal for robotic space mission
    During a virtual event on Wednesday afternoon, Western University’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration (Western Space) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the MILO Institute, to develop deep space missions. The MILO Institute is a non-profit research collaborative led by Arizona State University, with support from Lockheed Martin and GEOshare, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin.

  • September 22, 2020
    Trottier Family Foundation gift empowers Montreal’s most affected communities to fight COVID
    Our own Dr. Sarah Gallagher takes a step out of the stars and into the fight against COVID19.

  • September 02, 2020
    Did meteorite impacts help create life on Earth and beyond?
    What if impact craters, long seen as harbingers of death, turned out to be the cradle of life? For Western University planetary scientist Gordon Osinski, this isn’t just the big question posed in his latest study, but an overriding theme of his celebrated academic career. The new study, published today in Astrobiology, posits that impact craters should absolutely be considered by space agencies like NASA and ESA as top exploration targets, not just for their invaluable post-impact geological records, but also – and perhaps more importantly – as prime locations for seeking potential habitats for extraterrestrial life.

  • August 20, 2020
    Ice Sheets Covered Southern Highlands of Early Mars
    The southern highlands of Mars are dissected by hundreds of ancient valley networks (3.9-3.5 billion years old), which are evidence that water once sculpted the Martian surface. According to new research, these valley networks were carved by water melting beneath glacial ice, not by free-flowing rivers as previously thought.

  • July 07, 2020
    Local scientists share their research, one sidewalk at a time
    In London, Astrophysicist Parshati Patel, educational outreach and communications specialist at the Institute for Earth and Space Exploration at Western, is bringing sidewalk science to her neighborhood.

  • July 07, 2020
    Local scientists share their research, one sidewalk at a time
    In London, Astrophysicist Parshati Patel, educational outreach and communications specialist at the Institute for Earth and Space Exploration at Western, is bringing sidewalk science to her neighborhood.

  • February 24, 2020
    CSA contract giant leap towards launching Western into space
    Western University’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration (Western Space) has landed a major contract from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to develop an Integrated Vision System for future rover missions that could ultimately represent a flagship Canadian technology contribution for international missions to the Moon.

  • February 24, 2020
    CSA contract giant leap towards launching Western into space
    Western University’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration (Western Space) has landed a major contract from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to develop an Integrated Vision System for future rover missions that could ultimately represent a flagship Canadian technology contribution for international missions to the Moon.

  • June 14, 2024
    Researchers find destruction of oceans’ worth of water per month in Orion Nebula
    An international team, including Western astrophysicists Els Peeters and Jan Cami, has found the destruction and re-formation of a large quantity of water in a planet-forming disk located at the heart of the Orion Nebula.

  • June 14, 2024
    Saturn’s largest moon most likely non-habitable: Western study
    A study led by Western astrobiologist Catherine Neish shows the subsurface ocean of Titan – the largest moon of Saturn – is most likely a non-habitable environment, meaning any hope of finding life in the icy world is dead in the water.