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

Dr. 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

Dr. Nathalie Ouellette

Coordinator, Institute for Research on Exoplanets (Université de Montréal);
Outreach Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope

Galaxy formation and evolution, Black holes, Space astronomy, Space exploration, Education and public outreach

Dr. Christa Van Laerhoven

Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia

Exoplanets, the Kuiper Belt, history of the Solar System, planet migration, orbits

Dr. Matt Russo

Director (SYSTEM Sounds), Lecturer (Department of Physics, University of Toronto), Professor (Music & Astronomy, Seneca College)

Astrophysics, music, sonification

Dr. Sara Mazrouei

Space Matters Lead, Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration, Western University

Planetary science, Space exploration, Moon, asteroids, impact craters, education and outreach.

Dr. Kim Tait

Senior Curator, Royal Ontario Museum and Associate Professor, University of Toronto

Planetary geology, mineralogy, astromaterials, meteorites, curation methods, sample return, Mars

Dr. Scott VanBommel

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Earth and Planetary Science Department, Washington University in St. Louis.

Planetary Exploration, Spectroscopy, Mars, Astronomy, Space Exploration, Rovers, Robotics.

Dr. Jesse Rogerson

Science Advisor at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

Science communication, Quasars, Spectroscopy

Dr. Christina Smith

Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Research in Earth and Space Science at York University, member of the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) Science Operations Team, and new Juno Participating Scientist.

Solar System planetary bodies, Planetary atmospheres, Mars, Pluto, Titan, Jupiter

Ryan Marciniak

Entrepreneur & Planetarium Presenter, Astronomy in Action.

Extragalactic Star Formation, Education (schools), Public Education

Paul Delaney

Carswell Chair for the Public Understanding of Astronomy, Senior Lecturer, Department of Physics and Astronomy, York University.

Astronomy, space exploration, astronomy and space history.

Tanya Kizovski

Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Toronto/Royal Ontario Museum.

Meteorites, Mars, planetary geology, mineralogy, geochemistry. Shoots electrons and lasers at Martian meteorites for a living!

Dr. John Moores

York Research Chair in Space Exploration , Director, Technologies for Exo-Planetary Science NSERC CREATE

Planetary Science

Dr. Jamil Shariff

Astrophysicist; Member of Technical Staff in the Mission Systems Department at MDA Corporation

Cosmology, Big Bang, early Universe, Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation, instrumentation/robotics for space exploration & astronomy, telescopes and optics, scientific ballooning in Antarctica

Adam Philip

Senior Member of Technical Staff at MDA Robotics and Automation working on control systems for space and medical robots.

Robotics, control systems, planetary rovers, micro-satellites

Chris Langley

Staff Engineer, Guidance, Navigation, and Control, MDA Robotics and Automation

Planetary rover technology, particularly autonomous traverses. Automated planning and autonomous execution for Canadarm3

Dr. Michael Bazzocchi

Research Coordinator at University of Toronto’s Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Executive on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Space Society, Founder and President of the Trek for Teens Foundation

Asteroid Science and Engineering, Orbital Dynamics and Control, Spacecraft Formation, Orbital Debris Removal, Space Robotics, and Space Systems

Ewan Reid

President & CEO, Mission Control Space Services

Mission operations, space robotics, space systems engineering, entrepreneurship, innovation, STEM outreach