Meet our Space Experts!


Canada is a big country and your school or group may not be close to a university or company involved in space research. But do not worry! Partners in Research Canada are part of the Space Matters Collective and we are excited that their Virtual Researcher On Call (VROC) program is available to connect your classroom, museum, or event with our Space Experts for customized, interactive video calls. The best part? VROC is available to teachers across Canada at no cost.

Our Space Experts are available to present on a variety of topics from the use of satellites to monitoring climate change to the latest missions exploring our Solar System and beyond! Typical video calls involve one or more of the following: a short presentation, informal Q&A, a demonstration, or even a virtual tour of a facility. The technical requirements are pretty simple: an internet connection and a computer or tablet with a webcam, microphone, and speakers.

Simply browse the profiles below and send an e-mail to with “Space Matters VROC Request” in the subject and the name of your desired Space Expert. The more information you can provide about your students’ previous knowledge and your goals for the video call, the better! If you have questions about VROC, check our their FAQ page here.

If you’re interested in becoming a Space Expert please complete our sign up form here.

Dr. Gordon “Oz” Osinski

Professor and NSERC/MDA/CSA/CEMI Industrial Research Chair in Earth and Space Exploration, Department of Earth Sciences; Director, Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration; University of Western Ontario, London, ON

Planetary geology, astrobiology, exploration technologies, meteorite impact craters, Mars, Moon, meteorites, Arctic

Dr. Parshati Patel

Education and Public Outreach Coordinator, Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration, Western University

Massive Stars, Planetary Disks, Star Formation, Planetary Formation, Public Education and Outreach

Dr. Catherine Neish

Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, ON

Planetary geology, Astrobiology, Remote sensing, Impact cratering, Volcanism, Moon, Titan, Outer Solar System

Dr. Matthew Bourassa

Research Engineer (Department of Earth Sciences), Adjunct Professor (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering), University of Western Ontario

Orbital mechanics, space mission analysis and design, planetary exploration

Danny Bednar

Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario, London, ON

The History of Space Exploration, How Satellites Help us Manage the Environment, Space Policy

Bidong Zhang

PhD Candidate, Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX), University of Western Ontario, London, ON

Geochemistry, cosmochemistry and mineral physics (Raman spectroscopy)

Gavin Tolometti

PhD Student, President of the Geoscience Graduate Society, and Gradcast Committee Member, Department Earth Sciences, Center for Planetary Science and Exploration, University of Western Ontario, London, ON

Impact melt produced by impact cratering processes, and the diverse surface roughness of lava flows.

Dr. Cassandra Steer

Independent Consultant on Space Security and Space Law; Former Executive Director of the McGill Center for Research in Air and Space Law; Former Executive Director of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law

Space Law, Space Defence and Security, International Law, Law of Armed Conflict

Dr. Chris Herd

Professor, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; Curator, Meteorite Collection; Director, Institute for Space Science, Exploration and Technology; University of Alberta

Planetary geology, astromaterials, meteorites, curation methods, sample return, Mars, asteroids, comets