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Tucsonans get lesson from NASA mission leader - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Tucsonans get lesson from NASA mission leader

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TUCSON – Curious Tucsonans got to hear from the leader of NASA’s OSIRIS REx mission.

Dante Lauretta is the principal investigator of the project and a professor at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab. On Thursday evening he led a talk on the mission at Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium.

“I really enjoy coming out to places like Flandrau Planetarium to share the excitement of OSIRIS REx with our community,” Lauretta said, “and really get them pumped up about this mission.”

The spacecraft is on a 7-year trip to bring a sample from the asteroid Bennu back to Earth.

“I've always wanted to be an explorer ever since I was a little kid,” Lauretta said. “I quickly realized that there's not a lot of places on earth that you can be the first person to see. But in outer space, there's lots of opportunities.”

OSIRIS REx just flew by Earth to change its trajectory and test its equipment.

“Everything went spectacularly,” Lauretta said. “We got all of the information that we hoped to get. We are still processing through all the data, but the spacecraft is healthy. The instruments are healthy, and the team is amazing.”

Shipherd Reed works at Flandrau and enjoys sharing the mission’s story.

“It's pretty exciting, and it's pretty amazing,” Reed said. “And the more you understand, the more I understand about the mission, the more awed and inspired I am.”

It is scheduled to return on September 24, 2023.

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