LPL Newsletter: March 2020

Sunday, March 1, 2020

This month, we highlight two spacecraft missions in very different stages of their life cycles. OSIRIS-REx, which has been a central part of LPL life for more than a decade, is now gearing up for the crucial touch-and-go (TAG) sampling of the asteroid Bennu, with the first attempt scheduled for this summer. At the other end of mission life, the Io Volcano Explorer (IVO) NASA Discovery mission, with LPL’s Alfred McEwen as Principal Investigator, has been selected for a Phase A study. It is one of four missions selected for such a study, and one or two of those will be selected to fly. Although it’s the “new” mission on the block, Alfred and his team have been working on this mission to Jupiter’s volcanically active moon Io for much of the last decade.

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If selected, the Io Volcano Observer, or IVO, will investigate whether a magma ocean lies beneath the surface. (Image: NASA/JPL/DLR)

UArizona-Led Mission to Io Selected as Finalist for NASA Discovery Program

If selected as the winner, the spacecraft mission to Jupiter's volcanic, vibrant moon will determine whether a magma ocean lurks beneath its surface.


The Coming Descent to Asteroid Bennu

After a year of circling close to near-Earth asteroid Bennu, the OSIRIS REx spacecraft is almost ready to dip down and collect a surface sample for return to labs on our home planet. Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta prepares us for this exciting event and shares the great science already accomplished.