Welcome to PASSC

The Planetary and Space Science Centre (PASSC) opened in April, 2001 and was the first facility of its kind in Canada. PASSC is a growing group of scientists and engineers involved in researching planetary geology, space-related technology and associated applications. PASSC works directly with world-renowned space agencies, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA),  providing direct involvement with two missions to Mars in the near future (Mars Science Laboratory and ExoMars).

The five main functions of PASSC are:

Planetary Research:

The core of PASSC is its research program. The goal is to provide and realize world class training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and senior researchers in science and engineering. Our main areas of activity are investigating planetary materials (including Earth, lunar, martian and asteroid materials), planetary landforms and cratering processes. Click here.

Earth Impact Database:

The Earth Impact Database (EID) is a collection of images, publications and abstracts from around the world (compiled over the last 25 years) that provides information about confirmed impact structures for the scientific community and space enthusiasts. Click here.

Regional and Planetary Image Facility:

The Regional and Planetary Image Facility (RPIF) is one of 17 worldwide NASA-designated facilities providing imagery, maps and data from NASA-led space missions by request. It is the only one of its kind in Canada. The data is available to scientists, educators, students, media and the general public for the purpose of encouraging and furthering space science studies. Click here.

Microanalysis of materials:

PASSC is equipped with a micro-Raman spectrometer and a field emission scanning electron microscope, which facilitate the rapid, high precision analysis of planetary, terrestrial and industrial materials. Click here.

High-speed impact and ballistics:

In addition to investigating natural impact-related phenomena, PASSC operates a ballistics facility that can accelerate projectiles from subsonic through to hypersonic speeds under controlled, reproducible conditions. The High-speed Impact Research and Technology (HIRT) facility is an off-campus PASSC R&D unit that is operated by a team of engineers. This facility performs impact tests for academic, aerospace, defence and space applications, and also provides high-fidelity computer simulations of high-speed impact damage and shock effects. Click here.