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Gordon Osinski

Earth Sciences and Physics and Astronomy
The University of Western Ontario

Chair Title

NSERC/MDA/CSA Industrial Research Chair in Planetary Geology

Chair Program

Industrial Research Chairs Program


Associate Chairholder since 2010


On the Moon and Mars–the two highest priority targets for the Canadian and international scientific communities–meteorite impact craters are the dominant geological landform. It has also become apparent over the past two decades that meteorite impact events have played an important role throughout Earth's history, shaping the geological landscape, affecting the evolution of life, and producing economic benefits (e.g., the ore deposits associated with the Sudbury impact structure, Ontario). The central guiding theme of the proposed research is Meteorite Impacts–Processes, Products, and Exploration Potential.

The broad, long-term goals of this research program are to:

  1. further our understanding of the fundamental processes involved in the formation of meteorite impact craters;
  2. examine the potential beneficial scientific and economic effects of meteorite impact events;
  3. develop geological exploration strategies for robotic and human Moon-Mars missions;
  4. develop geological prospecting tools for future planetary missions and terrestrial applications; and
  5. raise awareness in the Canadian academic and industrial communities as to the importance of impact cratering as a geological process and of planetary science and exploration in general.

The IRC creates a strategic partnership with MDA and Western. The knowledge transfer from MDA engineers to Western researchers and vice versa will lead to a synergistic approach to planning and designing future planetary exploration initiatives. At Western, planetary science and exploration is viewed as a key emerging area of strategic interest and in this IRC will provide a foundation and a catalyst for further expansion. CSA will benefit substantially from the establishment of this high-profile position in planetary science. The IRC will ensure that recent community-building initiatives–such as the Canadian Lunar Research Network–not only continue, but grow.

The results of this research will fill in some significant gaps in current knowledge and will further our understanding of meteorite impacts and their beneficial scientific and economic effects. This is particularly important for Canada, which draws such a huge amount of wealth from the mining within the Sudbury impact structure. Sudbury is the richest mining district in North America, accounting for approximately half the mining activity in Ontario, valued at over $10 billion annually. Within Canada, space-related industries account for approximately $2.7B of yearly economic activity. This research aims to identify and develop instruments and develop strategies and techniques for future planetary missions with anticipated tangible industrial impact–technically, commercially and socioeconomically.


  • MacDonald
  • Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA)
  • Canadian Space Agency/Agence spatiale canadienne

Contact Information

Earth Sciences and Physics and Astronomy
The University of Western Ontario
Biological and Geological Sciences Building
1151 Richmond St.
London, Ontario
N6A 5B7

Tel.: 519-661-4208
Fax: 519-488-4721

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