If you grew up in Northern Ontario during the early 1970’s and you were a science fiction fan or followed the Apollo missions, visiting Sudbury was a unique experience. The barren, black, rocky landscape looked like the moon. NASA recognized this and in the early 70’s sent Apollo astronauts to train here.
The reason why Sudbury looked like the surface of a meteor lies 1800 million years in the past. Sudbury’s history started in space when a comet about 19km wide hit the southern shore of an ancient continent. The impact generated so much heat that it took over 100 thousand years to cool down. During that time, the precious metal rich rock sank deep into the molten crust. Continents collided. Mountains formed and eroded away. Oceans filled then emptied. Then finally, glaciers kilometers thick scraped the surface. The recognizably round impact crater was crushed into the 60km wide oval ridge that defines the Sudbury basin.
Since the 1990’s Sudbury has undergone a transformation returning to the pine green northern landscape first known to the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nations people.
Among the pines and dug into the rock outcroppings is a spirit for science. At first we looked to science to tell us where and how to mine. Now we look to science to tell us how to mine better.
The environment in Northern Ontario is harsh. It’s a place where you need to be able to rely on technology as a matter of life and death. You need to keep warm, you need to keep moving; you need to know what’s in front of you and what’s below you.
Sudbury has spent over a century learning how to live and grow from the hard earth. There is nowhere on Earth with a better pedigree for the advancement of space colonization and mining than Sudbury. It is time for Northern Ontario to lead into the future.