Press Release

University of Western Ontario Discovers New Planetary Scientists

By SpaceRef Editor
May 31, 2011
Filed under , ,

In the 2010-2011 school year the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX) has reached out to its local community and engaged over 700 students and teachers in areas related to planetary science. CPSX is creating planetary scientists by making the science accessible to a younger group and teaching them about current research areas. By going into classrooms, running workshops, and setting up booths at conventions and conferences, CPSX aims to inspire students to ask questions, think of answers and test their hypotheses. “Why does the Moon’s far side look so different than the near side?” “What causes the seasons to change?” “What do you need to know before you look for life on other planets?”

The work done by CPSX, which is being showcased at this week’s CASCA 2011 meeting in Ontario, Canada, is done collaboratively. Just as students are expected to learn from each other, CPSX learns and utilizes resources from other groups. It is in sharing knowledge that the greatest results can be achieved, and CPSX aims to share its knowledge about planetary science and exploration with the community at large.

The Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration ( is the largest planetary science group in the country with over 50 faculty and 30 graduate students from 10 different departments across campus. The goal of this Centre is to make Western the focus for planetary science and exploration research in Canada and to establish Western as a leading school for space systems design. This will enable the training of highly qualified personnel and provide Canadian industry with the necessary expertise and potential partners in future planetary mission activities. Our vision is that the establishment of such a Centre at Western will benefit the entire Canadian space community as we inspire and train the next generation of scientists and engineers.

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The University of Western Ontario is proudly hosting the 2011 CASCA conference May 30 to June 2, 2011, in London, Ontario, to celebrate Canadian astronomical and astrophysical research:

The Canadian Astronomical Society ( was founded in 1971 and incorporated in 1983 as a society of professional astronomers. The society is devoted to the promotion and advancement of knowledge of the universe through research and education. Membership is open to persons with a professional involvement with these goals in astronomy and the related sciences. The main activities of the Society are its annual scientific meetings, the planning and realization of scientific projects, the support of the scientific activities of its members, and the dissemination of related information among members and other interested persons. The Society supports committees on Optical and Infrared Astronomy, Radio Astronomy, Space Astronomy, Theoretical Astronomy, Education, Heritage, Canadian Grad Students, and Awards. Cassiopeia, the quarterly newsletter of the Society, is published at equinoxes and solstices.

Press Contacts:
Leslie Sage
CASCA Press Officer
+1 (301) 675-8957 (cell)

Dr. Alyssa Gilbert
Outreach Coordinator
Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration
University of Western Ontario

Science Contact:
Dr. Peter Brown
Meteor Physics Group
Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of Western Ontario

SpaceRef staff editor.