Welcome from the Head and Director
It was 19 years ago that LPL Director Mike Drake first conceived of the OSIRIS-REx mission, an audacious plan to pluck a sample from the surface of an asteroid and return it to Earth. Mike passed away in 2011 but never ceased to serve as the inspiration for the OSIRIS-REx team. After two decades of focused work and dedication, we are finally nearing the return of the precious capsule carrying the surface sample from asteroid Bennu. The OSIRIS-REx story in this month’s newsletter tells the story and looks forward to the science to come. We will all be watching on Sunday morning, September 24, as the capsule returns and the mission's principal investigator, LPL Professor Dante Lauretta, heads out to retrieve the sample capsule. Everyone at LPL is excited for what will be one of the banner days in our spaceflight legacy.
In keeping with the asteroid theme, the LPL fall public lecture series will highlight the science and threat of near-Earth asteroids. If you can't attend the first talk in person, click the announcement card below to register for the Zoom webinar. Look for talks in October and November by Dr. Veronica Bray and Assistant Professor Dani DellaGiustina, respectively.
Finally, we close out this newsletter with a story on the promise of lunar sample science from the next generation of sample returns from the Moon. LPL, of course, was founded on the prospect of Apollo science and our faculty and staff continue to be highly engaged in planning for the lunar science to come.
Mark S. Marley, Ph.D.
Department Head and Laboratory Director