NASA’s recently announced OSIRIS-REx mission has an ASU connection!
The mission to collect and return samples of asteroid 1999 RQ36 to Earth in 2023 will feature the OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer (OTES). The instrument will be built entirely in the new Interdisciplinary Science Building IV on the ASU Tempe Campus that will be home to part of the ASU School of Earth & Space Exploration. OTES is based on ASU Regents Professor Philip Christensen’s successful thermal emission spectrometers on Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey and the Mars Exploration Rovers. Christensen will serve as the Mission Instrument Scientist for OTES. Read more about OSIRIS-REx here and about ASU’s role in the mission here!
The July 6 episode of Horizon, on KAET (PBS Arizona, Channel Eight), featured a segment on the OSIRIS-REx mission, including interviews with Christensen and CMS Director Meenakshi Wadhwa, who serves on the Curation Planning and Preliminary Examination Teams for the material that OSIRIS-REx will return to Earth. Watch the episode here!
OSIRIS-REx is an acronym for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, and Regolith EXplorer. Part of the NASA New Frontiers programs, the mission is made up of an international team of scientists and engineers managed by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Arizona.