NASA's recent OSIRIS-REx mission has returned a sample of asteroid Bennu all the way to Earth for detailed analysis. It is difficult to ignore the tempting similarities of this mission to the plot of Michael Crichton's 'The Andromeda Strain' and its sequel, Daniel H. Wilson's 'The Andromeda Evolution' - so in this episode Marty discusses Planetary Protection with Thomas Zega, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona : what considerations and safeguards are in place to not only protect the sample from contamination by Earth, but Earth from contamination by the sample? We discuss the threat classification system employed by NASA when bringing astro-materials to earth, along with the inhospitable nature of the interplanetary environment to life as we know it, and the lines of evidence that should reassure us that we will not be wiped out by an unknown space pandemic. We also talk about tardigrades, panspermia, space-borne precursors to life, as well as the composition and minerology of asteroids and what they tell us about the evolution and structure of our solar system.
Arizona had a Stellar 2023 in Space Research. What's on the Horizon for 2024?
Mark Marley, director of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona and head of the Department of Planetary Sciences, sat down with The Show to look back at some of the biggest stories of the year, and a look ahead to what might be in store in 2024.
At UArizona's Kuiper-Arizona Laboratory for Astromaterials Analysis, researchers have begun studying particles brought to Earth by the OSIRIS-REx mission. A suite of instruments ranging from optical to electron microscopes allows the team to probe the sample down to the atomic scale.
On September 24, 2023, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission reached a thrilling conclusion with the return of a sample from the asteroid Bennu back to Earth. It represents NASA’s first ever asteroid sample return, and it promises to reveal clues about the origin of our solar system, the origin of our planet, and potentially the origin of life itself. The mission has been characterized by remarkable successes at every stage over its 7 year journey in space, which is a testament to the team behind it – led by Principal Investigator and University of Arizona Regents Professor at the Lunar and Planetary Lab, Dante Lauretta. But there’s one last stage of the mission upon which all others depend: the safe delivery of the sample capsule through Earth’s atmosphere, and the gentle deployment of a parachute to ease its landing in the Utah desert.
Watch never-before-seen footage of the first celebratory moments following the successful landing of the OSIRIS-REx sample return capsule. A chest-strapped 360 camera captured the perspective of mission principal investigator Dante Lauretta as he stepped off the helicopter that flew him to this remote location in the Utah desert. Minutes before the recovery team arrived, the capsule executed a pinpoint landing on its nose after blazing through Earth's atmosphere, charring its exterior, but protecting the precious cargo of rocks and dust from asteroid Bennu within. Producer: Arlene Islas
After 7 Years, NASA's OSIRIS-REx Returns to Earth...With Souvenirs!
NASA sent OSIRIS-REx into space to land on an asteroid and return with a sample of it. A container full of asteroid stuff landed in Utah. LPL's Assistant Professor Jessica Barnes, a co-investigator on the OSIRIS-REx mission and a research team lead, talks about the sample return and what's next.
Dr. Jessica Barnes is an Assistant Professor at LPL. She is a co-investigator on the OSIRIS-REx mission. In this presentation, she talks about the OSIRIS-REx sample return and what's next for the spacecraft and for the sample analysis.
Preparing to Receive the Asteroid Sample from OSIRIS-REx
The University of Arizona-backed OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will return its long-awaited sample of rocks and dust from the asteroid Bennu next month.
UA planetary scientist Dante Lauretta explains the logistics involved in recovering the sample and how soon researchers will be able to examine the material OSIRIS-REx collected three years ago. Dante Lauretta spoke with Tim Swindle, professor emeritus in Astronomy at the University of Arizona.