LPL Newsletter for February 2023

LPL Newsletter for February 2023

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

As February begins, the department is looking forward later in the month to hosting a visit from our newly admitted graduate class, which would begin doctoral studies at LPL in Fall 2023. As always, program applicants were highly qualified and accomplished. The incoming class promises to be a large cohort and LPL continues to grow the resources that would permit us to admit more outstanding applicants to our program.

Our top story this month is the wonderful news that NASA has awarded a $3 million grant to the Kuiper Materials and Imaging Characterization Facility (KMICF). The grant will provide NASA supported users outside of UArizona with access to the facility's instrumentation. This NASA grant, obtained under the leadership of KMICF Scientific Director Tom Zega, goes a long way towards keeping the facility both scientifically and financially healthy in the years to come. Parts of our brand new NanoSIMS instrument have started arriving and we expect to see this powerful new instrument fully functional later this year, just in time for the OSIRIS-REx Bennu sample return in September. With everything happening in the KMICF, we’ve decided to give the facility a new name which better highlights its roles in the study of extraterrestrial materials. Look for a coming announcement of the new name.

Also featured below is a cool image of the Lunar Flashlight spacecraft, captured by LPL’s Adam Battle and Vishnu Reddy.

Finally, we extend congratulations to three OSIRIS-REx Ambassador alumni who were recently recognized for their efforts on behalf of the mission by having asteroids named in their honor:
  • (45640) Mikepuzio: Mike proposed the name Bennu for the spacecraft's intended asteroid.
  • (45641) Larrypuzio: Larry is Mike Puzio's father and served as an enthusiastic OSIRIS-REx Ambassador.
  • (551900) Laneways: Peter Lake discovered this asteroid while making observations for the OSIRIS-REx Target Asteroids! citizen science program.

Follow us on social media to keep up with all the latest research from LPL.

Director and Department Head
Students using the transmission electron microscope (TEM), to study a meteorite sample at the Kuiper Materials Science Facility.

$3M NASA Grant to KMICF Increases Opportunities for Sample Analysis to Decode the History of the Solar System

The Kuiper Materials Imaging and Characterization Facility will use its cutting-edge instrumentation to analyze samples of asteroid Bennu, collected by the OSIRIS-REx mission. KMICF also supports research efforts by other NASA programs and space agencies.

Images show two observations of NASA's Lunar Flashlight and the private ispace HAKUTO-R Mission 1 as the two spacecraft, seen as a pair of dots, journey to the Moon.

NASA's Lunar Flashlight Spotted from Earth on its way to the Moon

LPL Professor Vishnu Reddy and graduate student Adam Battle used an Australian telescope to track the small spacecraft.