Astronauts have been getting a lesson in geology at a crater in Nunavut's High Arctic.

The Haughton is a well preserved meteor impact crater on Devon Island. It's about 23 kilometres in diameter, and is about 20 to 40 million years old.

University of Western Ontario geologist Dr. Gordon Osinski leads a field camp at the Haughton Crater.

Jeremy Hansen, an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency, is one of the participants. He said Osinski is teaching him about the cratering process. Hansen said what they learn on Earth will help them when they go into space.


Astronaut Jeremy Hansen said that the region's rocks offer insights into understanding the earth's geology, which will help him in space. (Dr. Gordon Osinski/University of Western Ontario)

"We’re also looking at taking the next steps that will take us further out into the solar system. So, things like going back to the moon, on to visit asteroids, with the goal of eventually getting to Mars," he said.

Hansen said they're learning how to be good geologists.

"And when I go to another planetary body, if that ever happens to me, if I’m ever that fortunate as a Canadian to walk on the moon for example, what I’ll need to bring back... and give the scientists on Earth a perspective of what you’re seeing and what you saw, what you found."

This is the second year Hansen has been to the camp. He said the field expeditions are a good opportunity for him to learn from a seasoned geologist.