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To Bennu and back: The OSIRIS-REx mission and the significance to Canada

June 21 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Talk Synopsis

The OSIRIS-REx mission is a NASA-lead mission to a carbonaceous Near-Earth Asteroid Bennu and return the sample back to Earth in September 2023. An extended mission will take the spacecraft into orbit around near-Earth asteroid Apophis in 2029. OSIRIS-REx was launched on September 8, 2016 and rendezvoused with Bennu on December 3, 2018. It then spent a significant time analyzing the surface of the asteroid, which several instruments, including OLA a Canadian instrument. On October 20, 2020 OSIRIS-REx touched down on Bennu and successfully collected a sample. As part of Canada’s contribution to the mission, it will receive 4% of the returned mass, for which we are actively preparing for. As the initial letter in the acronym OSIRIS-REx signifies one of the core mission objectives is to return a sample of an asteroid to help us better understand the origins not only of the solar system but perhaps also ourselves. The material returned is expected to enable scientists to learn more about the formation and evolution of the solar system, its initial stages of planet formation, and the source of organic compounds that led to the formation of life on Earth.

Dr. Luna Zagorac

Bio: Dr. Tait is the Senior Curator of Mineralogy and oversees all the collections and research programmes related to meteorite, gem, mineral and petrology at ROM. She is also a cross-appointed Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto. Dr. Tait started studying geology at the University of Manitoba, and although many aspects of geology interested her, her second-year mineralogy course stuck out as her favorite. It gave her the opportunity to learn about different types of minerals, how to identify them, and the chemical formulas that apply to each of them. She leads a research program employing diffraction and spectroscopy to characterize phosphate and phosphide minerals and analog synthetic phases at ambient and extreme conditions in terrestrial and extraterrestrial materials. Her program currently has a strong focus on Martian meteorites, but she is interested in rare achondrites and lunar samples. She is a member of the Mars Sample Return Campaign group, a joint NASA-ESA group which is planning for the return of Mars samples in the 2030s. She is also a co-investigator on the science team for the Canadian instrument OLA on the OSIRIS-REx mission.

Photo credit: ROM/Paul Eekhoff

Banner Credit: https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/products/osiris-rex.html


June 21
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:


UTM Davis (DV) 3140