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Chairholder Profile

Gordon Osinski

Gordon Osinski

Earth Sciences and Physics and Astronomy
The University of Western Ontario

Chair title

NSERC/MDA/Canadian Space Agency/Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation Industrial Research Chair in Earth and Space Exploration

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Associate Chairholder since 2010


The NSERC/MDA/CSA/CEMI Industrial Research Chair in Earth and Space Exploration expands on and strengthens an existing Chair and forges a unique partnership between the Canadian mining and space industrial and government sectors. This Chair is driven by the increase in the number of common aspects in the techniques and technologies applied to the exploration of remote and/or extreme locations on Earth, such as Arctic Canada and deep underground mines, and the exploration of space.

The research program of this Chair comprises a series of scientific and exploration objectives. The scientific focus is on investigating impact basins more than 150 km in diameter on the Earth, the Moon and Mars. This is motivated by the need to better understand the original structure of the Sudbury impact basin, Ontario, which at ~250 km in diameter is one of the largest impact sites on Earth. Sudbury is also North America’s largest mining area. The scientific objectives are to:

  • develop a model for how impact ejecta are emplaced around large impact basins;
  • determine the structural characteristics of large impact basins;
  • develop a model for the origin and evolution of hydrothermal systems within large impact basins.

An overarching and long-term objective of this Chair is to develop state-of-the-art science instrumentation to enable science-based robotic exploration of the solar system and to increase the rates of development and production in mines. The exploration focus for the Chair is framed around three interrelated exploration objectives:

  • Instrumentation: concepts for new instrumentation, the development of prototypes, and sensor integration;
  • Automated/autonomous data acquisition: development of techniques and algorithms to automate data collection and provide autonomous capabilities to sensors;
  • Remote situational awareness: development of technologies and techniques to enable increased situational awareness for mining operations and planetary exploration missions.

This program builds upon successes from the first term of the Chair in furthering our understanding of the processes and products of impact craters and in developing novel algorithms and techniques for the autonomous mapping of outcrops. Given the growth of the downstream sector and the focus on applications, commercialization and spin off technologies as outlined in Canada’s Space Policy Framework, and the fact that Canada is an international leader in mining, this Chair offers a unique opportunity to position Canada as the global leader in the development of 21st century exploration technologies.


  • MDA Systems Ltd.
  • Canadian Space Agency
  • Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI)

Contact information

Earth Sciences and Physics and Astronomy
The University of Western Ontario


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