A graduate of the University of Arizona has made a $ 2 million donation in support of its involvement in the OSIRIS-REx mission and the Giant Magellan Telescope.
As a gift to UArizona, $ 1.5 million will go to the analysis of the sample that will be returned by the OSIRIS-REx mission. The final $ 500,000 will go to University staff and students for more time using the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT).
The operation will begin at dawn at the GMT home of Chile’s Atacama Desert. The anonymous donor data make a large donation to boost future University discoveries.
UArizona President Robert C. Robbins said, “I am extremely grateful for the vision and support of this donor in the exploration of space science at the University of Arizona”. He also said that “One of the exciting aspects of both of these projects is realizing how many members of our faculty and staff, as well as our students, are contributing to their success. No. it’s great to have a graduate who continues to engage with the university and support these missions. ”
OSIRIS-REx is a NASA asteroid study and sample return mission, the primary purpose of which is to obtain a 60 g sample from 101955 Bennu, a carbon-rich asteroid near Earth, and bring it home for in the analysis. In October, the spacecraft made the agency’s first attempt to collect a sample from the asteroid, led by UArizona.
The UArizona Team Using Donations
Jessica Barnes, cosmochemist, assistant professor of planetary science, and collaborating example scientist was delighted with her colleagues at the UArizona Lunar and Planetary Lab. Especially when the mission became “hard-and-go” after a few particles escaped the sample collector and required a two-day force to secure the material.
The $ 1.5 million gift aids his team in sample analysis, which will allow for the purchase of a nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometer. This will allow very advanced imaging of the surface of a sample in high resolution, under 50 nanometers, and can provide isotope ratio measurements, as Barnes said it will allow investigation at the size of nanometers without destroying the samples.
It’s as UArizona said, “an instrument the analysis team will use to help find answers to key questions about the origins of the solar system.” The project is funded in part by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, founded by Intel co-founder, and in part also funded by UArizona.
Speaking to OSIRIS-REx professor of planetary sciences and chief investigator Dante Lauretta, Barnes said “I’m emotional, just like Dante. To hear we have an amazing gift that allows us to capture the amazing piece of equipment – I had no idea what was going to happen at that time. It was just amazing ”.
Lauretta said, “I was overwhelmed with emotion and joy and excitement – for Jessica, for the university, for our samples, for science, for our students and staff and everyone who will be involved in the continuation of the amazing -this amazing scientific adventure “.
Clearly, the donor’s gift came partly out of admiration for Barnes ’expertise in such sample analysis, and in helping a female scientist whose early career was said to be interim dean of the College of Science Elliott Cheu.
John-Paul Roczniak, president and CEO of the UArizona Foundation, said private donations and gifts can be important to these research problems. “This gift helps accelerate scientific achievements. I am grateful to this donor and to all of our supporters who provide generous investments in research with far -reaching consequences for society,” Roczniak said.
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft plans to move to Earth in September 2023, with samples hitting the Utah Test and Training Range. It will first be identified at the Johnson Space Center, a team led by Lauretta will begin a detailed study in UArizona, with the ultimate goal of exploring the past of the solar system.
“Depending on how much material we bring from Bennu, scientists and students could be analyzing that material a decade or even two or three decades into the future,” Barnes said.
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