NASA Wants to Tap Canadian AI and Robotics Expertise

See you on the moon.

In a keynote address at the Canadian Aerospace Summit in Ottawa, the head of NASA Jim Bridenstine told the audience that he wants Canada to continue being a major part of how the U.S. explores space. Throughout the speech, Bridenstine repeatedly referred to the strides Canada has made in both the AI and robotics world, citing examples such as MDA’s Canadarms and other ways the country has helped enhance worldwide capabilities for space travel and exploration.

Bridenstine described the first step of a new plan for Space Policy Directive One, which is a plan to put humans on the moon by 2028. Following that, manned missions to Mars will take place. But not without the help of Canada and other key international partners.

“I am here to ask for the support of Canada for the Space Policy Directive One to return to the moon,” said Bridenstine. “We cannot achieve what we want to achieve in space if we go alone. We want Canada involved in a big way. We’d love to see robotics on the Lunar Gateway—maybe a Canadarm3—and we want canada to be a major player in these activites.”

Bridenstine went on to say that Canada has had a lot of success when it comes to space travel, sending eight astronauts into space—with a ninth to shortly follow on December 3—and that a trip to the moon will be a proving ground to get to Mars.

“If Canadians want to be involved in missions to the surface of the moon with astronauts, we welcome that. We want to see that day materialize,” Bridenstine said. “We think it would be fantastic for the world to see people on the surface of the moon that are not just wearing the American flag, but wearing the flags of other nations.”

Robotics and AI are areas Canada has excelled in over the past few years, so it’s no surprise that is the expertise NASA wants to tap for a trip to the moon. Other Canadian tech and science initiatives will be featured prominently when David Saint-Jacques heads to the ISS next month, but as the plans for NASA’s Lunar Gateway slowly unfold, Canada will look to do what it does best to ensure a successful mission to the moon.