Backroads Bill: Northern Ontario front and centre of moon-drilling research

Just one year away from the fiftieth anniversary of U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, there is a renewed interest in returning there, and this time northern Ontario stands to play a big part in the journey.

Preliminary design and practice for moon drilling happening here in northern Ontario

Backroads Bill Steer (Supplied by Bill Steer)

Just one year away from the fiftieth anniversary of U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, there is a renewed interest in returning there, and this time northern Ontario stands to play a big part in the journey.

Bill Steer, founder of the Canadian Ecology Centre near Mattawa, says "moon rocks" that appear about 20 kilometres west of Foleyet, are geologically similar to those found on the moon.

"In the Apollo missions that followed [Neil Armstrong,] astronauts brought back a lot of moon rock," Steer told CBC's Morning North. "Through investigation, they found there are rocks on the earth which are very similar."

Steer also spoke with Melissa Butler, a scientist with Western University in London, Ontario, who said the companies performing drilling exercises are preparing for what they will likely encounter on the moon in the next decade.

Steer said this is also an interesting time for students of mining, especially those in the area, who can watch these developments occurring.

"When we think about modern mining, we think about going underground and open pits," Steer said.

"But indirectly the whole mining sector, including the mining sector in Northern Ontario, is front and centre in this type of research."