Dante Lauretta

Principal Investigator, OSIRIS-Rex Mission, NASA
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Dante Lauretta is principal investigator of the OSIRIS-REx mission and a professor of planetary science at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. His research interests focus on the chemistry and mineralogy of asteroids and comets, and he is an expert in the analysis of extraterrestrial materials, including asteroid samples, meteorites and comet particles.

Dr. Lauretta heads a research team at the UA working on this mission, which has included more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students.
The mission was selected in 2011, launched in 2016, and returns samples back to Earth in 2023. Sample analysis continues until 2025. This project will help ensure that the University of Arizona remains at the forefront of planetary exploration for the next decade.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission

The OSIRIS-REx mission will be traveling to Bennu, a carbon-rich, near-Earth asteroid. The spacecraft launched on September 8, 2016, and is scheduled to rendezvous with Bennu in 2018 and ultimately bring samples of the asteroid back to Earth.

These samples will be the first for a U.S. mission and may hold clues to the origin of the solar system and the organic molecules that may have seeded life on Earth.

The University of Arizona leads the mission for NASA, and it is also providing the science operations team and the spacecraft’s camera system. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center provides overall mission management.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center provides overall mission management. Lockheed Martin Space Systems built the spacecraft. United Launch Alliance built the mission’s Atlas V launch vehicle.

The mission is in an exciting phase right now as the OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft is on its outbound journey to Bennu.
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