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Lassonde (LE) – Space Science

Location: 102 Petrie, 416-736-5245
Interim Chair: R.S.K. Lee
Distinguished Research Professors: G.G. Shepherd
Professors: Q. Cheng, G.T. Jarvis, C. Haas, J. Kozinski, I.C. McDade, T. McElroy, S.D. Pagiatakis, M. Shoukri, P.A. Taylor, J.A. Whiteway, Z.H. Zhu
Professors Emeriti: K.D. Aldridge, J.R. Miller, G.G. Shepherd, D. Smylie
Associate Professors: C. Armenakis, S. Bisnath, M. Daly, B. Hu, M.A. Jenkins, G.P. Klaassen, R.S.K. Lee, B.M. Quine, J. Shan, G. Sohn, A.M.K. Szeto, G. Vukovich
Assistant Professors: Y. Chen, J. Moores
Associate Lecturers: H. Chesser, J.G. Wang

Earth and Space Science and Engineering department members are active with Canadian and International partners in investigating/establishing new satellite based programmes for monitoring of the recovering ozone layer and Arctic air quality. The near-Earth based Space Science research activities of faculty members in the department largely focus on studies of the optical aeronomy, dynamics and chemistry of the upper atmosphere and the near Earth space environment. Optical aeronomy is a discipline that deals with the effect of light on the atmosphere including the atmospheric emission of light. This light or radiation can manifest itself as the phenomena known as the airglow and the aurora such as the Northern Lights. Our interest in these phenomena is both fundamental and applied and much of the research activity is directed towards developing remote sensing techniques that exploit the airglow and aurora to measure temperatures, winds and the chemical composition of the atmosphere using observations made from the ground, rockets and particularly satellite platforms.

Members of the Department are actively involved in a number of international space science projects such as the Canadian OSIRIS instrument on the Swedish/Canadian/French/Finnish Odin Satellite where York researchers contribute significantly to the analysis of observations (see York Scientist’s developed Argus, an award winning miniaturized spectrometer, this is observing the Earth in the infrared aboard the nanosatellite CanX-2. York Scientists are also involved in the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) now flying on Canada’s first Sci Sat-1 mission and the design of the SWIFT instrument.  In addition to these closer-to home activities, York is actively involved in planetary science. Three of our Faculty are members of the Science Team for the recent NASA/CSA Phoenix mission in Mars, which landed on Mars and has made some remarkable discoveries such as snow in the Martian atmosphere (see Mission activities in development include missions to small bodies in the solar system (asteroids and moons), missions to planetary analogue sites and further studies of the atmosphere of Mars. ESSE’s space science researchers and engineers are also active in an exciting new mission to visit an asteroid known as OSIRIS-Rex. They are also involved in the current Mars Curiosity Rover mission. 

The development of novel instruments to support planetary missions is strong focus of the department. Strong links exist with the Canadian Space Agency.