To Bennu and Back Again: the OSIRIS-REx Sample Return Mission
Are we alone or do we share our solar system and galaxy with other forms of life? And how widespread are advanced civilizations with whom we could communicate?
Dr. Hannah Kaplan
Sunday, August 8, 2021
7:30 PM to 9:00 PM EST
Monthly Meeting – Public Invited
On October 20, 2020, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully collected a sample from the surface of near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu. That sample will be delivered to Earth in 2023 for analysis in state-of-the-art laboratories. In the meantime, our best information on Bennu’s origin, geologic history, and composition comes from instruments on the spacecraft, which observed the asteroid for multiple years before sample collection. Important findings include the presence of water and organics on the surface, and contamination from other asteroids. Through the lens of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft observations, Dr. Kaplan will describe Bennu’s history and implications for the returned sample.
Dr. Kaplan is a research space scientist at Goddard Space Flight Center. She uses remote sensing observations to understand the composition of planetary surfaces, including asteroids and Mars. She is a member of the OSIRIS-REx science team and the Lucy L’Ralph instrument science team. Before coming to Goddard, Dr. Kaplan worked at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado where she was a postdoctoral researcher working on OSIRIS-REx.