LPL Newsletter for March 2021

Monday, March 1, 2021

In LPL news this month, it's time for spacecraft to say goodbye and hello. After the successful sampling campaign last fall, OSIRIS-REx is preparing for its farewell tour at Bennu. Meanwhile, HiRISE took some of its now-expected spectacular images to welcome the Perseverance rover to Mars, including an image of Perseverance under parachute, and another of the rover on the ground, with the traces of the entry, descent, and landing system around it. We also have two stories about faculty leading teams working to build new capabilities—Dániel Apai leading a group building the capability to directly image extrasolar planets and Christopher Hamilton leading a project in Iceland to investigate ways to use unmanned aerial vehicles in conjunction with a rover.

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Descent of Perseverance over Mars

HiRISE Images the NASA Rover Perseverance on its Descent to the Martian Surface

The Mars 2020 descent stage holding NASA’s Perseverance rover can be seen falling through the Martian atmosphere, its parachute trailing behind.

This artist's concept shows the planned flight path of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft during its final flyby of asteroid Bennu, which is scheduled for April 7.NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

OSIRIS-REx to Fly a Farewell Tour of Bennu

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will swoop around Bennu one more time to collect information about how the Touch-and-Go sample collection affected the asteroid before returning home.

VLT (Very Large Telescope) at sunset.

A New Way to Look for Life-Sustaining Planets

New capabilities developed by an international team of astronomers make it possible to directly image planets that could potentially harbor life within the habitable zone of a neighboring star system.

Hot Springs in Iceland.

Watch Flight of the RAVEN

Christopher Hamilton is spearheading the RAVEN Project, a NASA-funded endeavor to develop the next generation of drones capable of exploring alien worlds like Mars. The project is currently testing prototypes over the Mars-like volcanic terrain of Iceland, and will follow in the footsteps of the Mars 2020 Mission.