We’re excited to be a part of the new wave of commercial lunar exploration with our novel science-enhancing AI technology payload: ASAS-CRATERS (Autonomous Soil Assessment System: Contextualizing Rocks, Anomalies and Terrains in Exploratory Robotic Science).

As privately-operated robots start exploring the lunar surface, autonomous capabilities will be increasingly important to provide value in low-cost and short-duration missions. ASAS-CRATERS consists of cutting-edge AI algorithms in terrain classification, novelty detection, and data aggregation, and will advance a planetary rover’s capability to autonomously assess its surroundings for scientific value. It is designed to be a multi-mission system that can support a wide range of scientific payloads and reduce the operational workload of scientists, enabling them to operate their missions more efficiently.

This project leverages previous CSA-funded space technology developments we have made in robotic exploration and artificial intelligence (AI). We have learned a lot about how we can make planetary rovers safer and more efficient drivers – now we’re going to take that technology and make rovers smarter scientists.

Do you think ASAS-CRATERS can help your science payload or mission? Do you have other ideas on how our technology can support your work? We’d love to hear from you so contact us today!

The Team

ASAS-CRATERS is being developed in collaboration with a fully Canadian team of experts in topics ranging from planetary science to robotics and embedded systems for spaceflight. The Science team includes Dr. Gordon Osinski who is Director of Research at Western University’s Institute of Earth and Space Exploration (IESE) and Dr. Ed Cloutis who is Director at University of Winnipeg’s Centre for Terrestrial and Planetary Exploration (C-TAPE). The science team is also supported by Dr. Ryan Ewing of Texas A&M University who was a Surface Properties Scientist for NASA’s MSL rover.

The technology will be developed in conjunction with Xiphos Systems Corporation, a Canadian SME that boasts four generations of products flying in space for over 17 years. MDA, the world leader in space robotics, will support the project by providing radiation analysis of the Xiphos hardware for the lunar environment. Technology development will also be supported by Dr. Ken McIsaac at Western’s IESE and Dr. Krzysztof Skonieczny at Concordia University. In total, 10+ students at Mission Control and partnering universities will be engaged in this project.

Latest News


Announcement: Mission Control Intelligence

Mission Control is excited to announce Mission Control Intelligence (MCI): a joint project with Axiom Research Labs to demonstrate AI-powered autonomy on a micro-rover ahead of commercial missions to the Moon. Read more about it here and our press release!


ASAS-CRATERS Announcement!

Mission Control is excited to announce a contract awarded by the Canadian Space Agency for the development of a novel payload to advance lunar scientific exploration. Read more about our amazing partners and collaborators in our press release!


Canada Reaches for the Moon!

The Canadian Space Agency awarded 7 contracts worth a total of $4.36 million to 5 companies and one university to advance concepts for nano- and micro-rovers, and autonomous science instruments – part of LEAP (Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program). These advancements will serve as the first steps towards landing and conducting Canadian science on the surface of the Moon! Mission Control is excited to be among those announced: