New Discoveries Lecture Jan 31

OSIRIS-REx Mission to Asteroid Bennu: Latest Images and Updates

Drs. Phil Christensen, Vicky Hamilton, and Devin Schrader

7:30PM, January 31, 2019 | Register

While many on Earth prepared to welcome in the New Year 2019, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, 70 million miles away, carried out a single, eight-second burn of its thrusters – and broke a space exploration record. The spacecraft entered into orbit around the asteroid Bennu, and made Bennu the smallest object ever to be orbited by a spacecraft.

Now that the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is closer to Bennu, physical details about the asteroid will leap into sharper focus, and the spacecraft’s tour of this rubble pile of primordial debris will become increasingly detailed and focused.

At this lecture, join OSIRIS-REx mission team members Phil Christensen and Devin Schrader of ASU and Vicky Hamilton of the Southwest Research Institute for a closer look at Bennu and what we hope to learn from this ongoing mission.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE

About the Speakers:

Dr. Phil Christensen is a co-investigator on the OSIRIS-REx mission and the lead of the spacecraft’s OTES instrument. He is a Regents' Professor and the Ed and Helen Korrick Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU. As a geologist and geophysicist, his research interests focus on the composition, processes, and physical properties of Mars, the Earth, and other planetary surfaces. In addition to building OTES for OSIRIS-REx, Christensen has built five science instruments that have flown on NASA missions to Mars, including the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera on Mars Odyssey, the Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer  (Mini-TES) instruments on the Mars Exploration Rovers, and the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) on Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Observer.

Dr. Vicky Hamilton is a co-investigator on the OSIRIS-REx mission and the lead for the OTES spectrum analysis team. She is a planetary geologist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado and studies Mars and Earth and asteroids. The focus of her research is understanding the spectral features of minerals and rocks in the visible, near infrared, and thermal infrared portions of the electro-magnetic spectrum and using this knowledge to identify and/or characterize the rocks and minerals on planetary surfaces. Most of her recent work has focused on analysis of data from ongoing NASA spacecraft missions at Mars, in addition to her work as co-investigator on the OSIRIS-REx and Lucy missions.

Dr. Devin Schrader provides sample science support and is a carbonaceous meteorite collaborator on the OSIRIS-REx mission. He is also an assistant research professor with the ASU Center for Meteorite Studies. His research concerns the study of primitive meteorites and meteorites that were thermally and aqueously altered on their parent asteroid. He utilizes petrographic, compositional, thermodynamic, and isotopic data in to study small bodies in the early solar system.

Apply by Feb 1 for the Nininger Meteorite Award

The Nininger Meteorite Award application deadline is February 1, 2019.

Applications for the 2018 Nininger Meteorite Award, for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing research in meteoritical sciences, are now being accepted!

The Nininger Meteorite Award recognizes outstanding student achievement in the meteoritical sciences as embodied by an original research paper.  Papers must cover original research conducted by the student and must have been written, submitted, or published between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018.  Applicants must be the first, but not sole, author of the paper and must have been studying at an educational institution in the United States at the time the paper was written, submitted, or published.

The Nininger Award recipient receives $1,000 and an engraved plaque commemorating the honor.

 

For more information, including application form, click here!

Rowena

January's meteorite of the month is Rowena, an ordinary (H6) chondrite found in Australia, in January of 1962.

Over 34 kg of the Rowena meteorite were recovered after it was unearthed while plouging a paddock, in northern New South Wales; the plough had broken the meteorite into several pieces.  These pieces were sent from the Mining and Geological Museum, in Sydney, to the Australian Museum, where the Preparation Section reassembled them into a whole and chalked the outline of the original fusion crust (see photos, below, from Chalmers and Mason, 1977).

The meteorite was named for the nearby Rowena railway station.

Read more about the discovery of the Rowena meteorite here:

Rowena meteorite 1 Rowena Meteorite 2

Apply for the 2018 Nininger Meteorite Award

Applications for the 2018 Nininger Meteorite Award, for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing research in meteoritical sciences, are now being accepted!
 
The Nininger Meteorite Award recognizes outstanding student achievement in the meteoritical sciences as embodied by an original research paper.  Papers must cover original research conducted by the student and must have been written, submitted, or published between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018. 
 
The Nininger Meteorite Award application deadline is January 19, 2019. Applicants must be the first, but not sole, author of the paper and must have been studying at an educational institution in the United States at the time the paper was written, submitted, or published.
 
The Nininger Award recipient receives $1,000 and an engraved plaque commemorating the honor.
 

2019 Nininger Student Travel Award

The application process for the 2019 Nininger Student Travel Award for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing research in meteoritics and planetary sciences, is now open!

The Nininger Student Travel Award supports travel to the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) of up to 4 School of Earth & Space Exploration undergraduate and graduate students to present their latest results.

For details on the award and application process, click here!

Student group classifies new meteorite

Through ASU's Sundial Project, a group of undergraduate students had the opportunity to work with Center Ph.D. Candidate Emilie Dunham and Collection Curator Dr. Laurence Garvie to classify a brand new achondrite meteorite.  The students used ASU's electron microprobe to analyze the meteorite's elemental composition, as well as to image the meteorite, and learned how to interpret the results to determine meteorite type. They then presented their results at the Sundial Science Conference, where they were awarded Best Presentation!

A 2015 find from Northwest Africa, the new achondrite has been classified as a lodranite, and is now approved by the Meteoritical Society as Northwest Africa 11970.

sundial_project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group photo, L to R: Anna Zaniewski (Leader, Sundial mentoring), Emilie Dunham, Tirzah Fougner, Teviyahn Goodwyn, and Elliot Smith. Not shown is Nicholas Delafuente.

new meteorite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newly classified meteorite, Northwest Africa 11970.

 

St. Louis

December’s Meteorite of the Month is St. Louis, an ordinary (H4) chondrite that fell in St. Louis County, Missouri, on December 10th, 1950.
 
This spectacular meteorite fall coincided with the yearly Geminid meteor shower, a separate astronomical event.  The fireball lit up the night sky with a bright green-blue glow for several seconds, and loud rumbling, compared by some to thunder or distant artillery fire, was heard for as long as 30 seconds.  Local newspaper and police telephone switchboards were inundated with calls from witnesses concerned that the sound and light were the result of an atomic bomb detonation, mostly due to the greenish light accompanying the meteorite’s fall.
 
One piece of the St. Louis meteorite fell through the roof of a moving car!  The driver was quoted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, describing the event: “I thought at first I’d had a blowout, but traffic was heavy and I wasn’t able to stop for about a block. Then I found the hole in the top of the car and two broken fragments, each about two and a half inches long, on the floor in back. I didn’t think much of it until I read later of the meteor exploding over the city.”
 
 
St. Louis
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This piece of the St. Louis meteorite measures 1 cm at its widest point. Photo: CMS/ASU.

Korra Korrabes

November’s Meteorite of the Month is Korra Korrabes, an ordinary (H3) chondrite found in 1996, in Namaland, Namibia.
 
According to the Meteoritical Bulletin (MB 85):
A 22 kg stone plus 11 smaller pieces totaling ~18 kg were found in 1996 November in a dry river bed by a farmer who was searching for Gibeon irons. People searching with metal detectors recovered hundreds of additional buried, more weathered pieces within 50 m of the original material since 2000 November, bringing the total mass to ~120–130 kg. The largest specimen was used in a garden wall until 2000 August.
 
To date, 140 kg of Korra Korrabes have been recovered.
Korra Korrabes
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This piece of Korra Korrabes measures 3 cm at its widest point. Photo: CMS/ASU.

New paper by Center researchers

A new paper, published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, by Center Assistant Director Dr. Devin Schrader and Center Assistant Research Scientist Dr. Jemma Davidson constrains the background temperature of the protoplanetary disk in the first four million years of the Solar System!  Authored with Dr. Steve Desch (ASU) and Dr. Roger Fu (Harvard University), the paper, titled "The background temperature of the protoplanetary disk within the first four million years of the Solar System", also provides a new test parameter for chondrule formation models based on newly determined low-temperature chondrule cooling rates.

Read the paper here – free to download until November 19th!

Chondrules are rounded, silicate-rich particles, and are the namesake of the chondrite meteorites.  Chondrites are the most abundant type of stony meteorite, and contain some of the first solids to have formed in the Solar System, including calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions, and chondrules.