Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA Science Teams Prepare to Study Asteriod Samples

26.08.2011
Named OSIRIS-REx (Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security-Regolith Explorer), the mission is scheduled to embark on a 3.5-billion-mile roundtrip in 2016 to a primitive carbonaceous organic-rich asteroid called RQ36—short for “(101955) 1999 RQ36”. While orbiting the asteroid, the spacecraft will execute a series of touch-and-go maneuvers at selected sample sites and return to Earth by 2023. Clark’s grant will fund her research efforts until 2025.

“Our target asteroid contains a record of the conditions before the solar system was formed, so you can think of the asteroid as a time capsule,” Clark said. “Studying the samples will improve our understanding of how the planets were formed and provide insights into the sources of prebiotic organic compounds necessary for the origin of life. This mission will be the first in the history of space exploration to return a pristine sample of a carbonaceous asteroid.”

In addition, because RQ36 crosses the Earth’s orbit every September and has an outside chance (1 in 1,800) of colliding with the Earth in the year 2182, OSIRIS-REx will give scientists data that can help them refine the asteroid’s orbit and devise strategies to mitigate possible impacts between Earth, RQ36 and other celestial bodies.

During the time leading up to the 2016 launch, Clark will be responsible for integrating the observations of five different science teams to answer scientific questions that will help the mission project select sampling sites. After the spacecraft returns with its samples, Clark and her students will join colleagues to analyze the samples and test theories about the asteroid-meteorite connection and the early formation of the solar system.

In all, OSIRIS-REx will marshal the expertise of scientists from 14 colleges and universities as well as the Goddard Space Flight Center, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, the Johnson Space Center, and other organizations. Michael Drake, director of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, is the principal investigator, and Dante Lauretta, professor of planetary science, is the deputy principal investigator. The project will cost an estimated $800 million dollars, excluding the launch vehicle.

“Like the Moon rocks from the Apollo missions, samples of RQ36 will keep on giving,” said Clark. “Decades after this mission is completed, we’ll be using equipment we haven’t yet dreamed of to test new theories of solar system origin by examining rocks from RQ36.”

A longtime investigator of meteorites and asteroids, Clark has received numerous grants from NASA to study the mineralogical compositions of these celestial objects. Her articles, co-authored frequently with other asteroid scientists, have appeared in the “Journal of Geophysical Research,” “Nature,” “Science” and “Meteoritics and Planetary Science.”

OSIRIS-Rex is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. The first was launched in 2006 and will fly by the Pluto Charon system in 2014. The other launched this year and will orbit Jupiter to conduct the first studies of the giant planet’s atmosphere and interior.

To interview Beth Ellen Clark, contact Keith Davis in the Ithaca College media relations office at (607) 274-1153 or kdavis@ithaca.edu.

More information on OSIRIS-REx and videos illustrating the mission are available at http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/osiris-rex.html and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6XbYLGWmOs.

Keith Davis | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ithaca.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

nachricht Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>