LONDON, ONT. -- A Canadian astronaut will be involved in the first manned mission around the moon since 1972.

The Canadian Space Agency made the announcement Wednesday while confirming another Canadian astronaut will play a key role in another future space mission. Both will be overseen by NASA.

The news is exciting for Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremey Hansen.

Hansen was born in London and raised in Ailsa Craig and Ingersoll.

“I’m excited that a Canadian will be on Artemis II," Hansen told reporters on Zoom call.

While the specific astronauts for the 2023 Artemis II Mission to lunar orbit have not been selected, it has been confirmed one of four active Canadian astronauts will be headed to the moon.

Hansen says it is just the first step towards a new future in space.

“We are paving the way for eventually Canadians doing even more things in space. Eventually, hopefully, one day a Canadian on the moon and on Mars. Those are our goals.”

A second Canadian astronaut will also be selected to be part of the team on the Lunar Gateway micro spaceport.

Federal Minister of Science and Industry Navdeep Bains says it will be built 1,000 times farther from the earth than the current space station.

“It will provide a living space for astronauts, research laboratories, and emission control for future exploration of the moon. And, one day, beyond.”

Link to Western University

A return to deep space is exciting for a geologist working at Western University.

Dr. Gordon Osinski heads up the Earth and Space Exploration Institute.

He’s hoping to be part of a team that will examine a new batch of moon rocks.

Dr. Gordon OsinskiDr. Gordon Osinski, of the Earth and Space Exploration Institute at Western University speaks during a Zoom interview on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020.

“Getting humans back to the surface will open the door to bringing back many more kilos of lunar samples.”

But even a scientist, like Osinski, can’t deny that he’s most excited at the thought of seeing humans back in deep space.

After all, he acknowledges, the majority of Canadians are too young to remember watching the grainy TV images of the Apollo missions.

“Seeing the earth off in the distance in the foreground, we’ll have a version of that taken by a Canadian Astronaut taken in just few years time. I’m looking forward to gathering around the TV screen with my kids and just being excited about that.”