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A new contract between NASA and the University of Arizona to collect a sample from an asteroid will include an instrument built through ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration.
The instrument that is going to be built at ASU is the OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer, or OTES for short. Greg Mehall is a project engineer for OTES at ASU and has overseen the development of previous ASU flight instruments. He said OTES will contain elements that are similar to the Mars rover infrared spectrometers.

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Asteroids: In search of stardust

The US space agency Nasa has announced the ultimate smash-and-grab raid: the first attempt to collect a handful of asteroid rock and bring it back to Earth. There are three reasons why astronomers and space buffs should cheer the seven-year, $800m robot mission and one reason why they should sob.
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Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) is a planetary science mission, the third selected in the New Frontiers Program. The mission will study and return a (60 grams (2.1 oz) - 2 kilograms (4.4 lb)) sample of a carbonaceous asteroid to Earth for detailed analyses in about 2023.
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UA to Lead NASA's OSIRIS-REx Mission 



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NASA to Launch New Science Mission to Asteroid in 2016
 
NASA will launch a spacecraft to an asteroid in 2016 and use a robotic arm to pluck samples that could better explain our solar system's formation and how life began. The mission, called Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, will be the first U.S. mission to carry samples from an asteroid back to Earth.
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NASA Selects UA-Led Mission to Collect Sample From Asteroid

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will orbit and explore asteroid 1999 RQ36 for longer than a year before closing in and collecting a sample of pristine organic material that may have seeded Earth with the building blocks that led to life.
NASA has selected the University of Arizona to lead a sample-return mission to an asteroid. The team is led by Michael Drake, director of the UA's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Md. will manage the mission for NASA. Lockheed Martin will build the spacecraft.

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University of Arizona asteroid project vies for NASA grant

The mission, costing an estimated $800 million to $1 billion and stretching for 12 years, would be the single largest space contract UA has ever received, surpassing the $428 million Phoenix Mars Mission led by the university in 2008.
The mission also would involve Arizona State University. UA would oversee the mission, called OSIRIS-REx, and ASU would build a critical instrument, similar to ones already in use on Mars, to analyse the asteroid's composition.

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Ithaca College Faculty Member Hopes Asteroid Samples Will Reveal Solar System History

Beth Ellen Clark Joseph, associate professor and chair of physics at Ithaca College, will spend 2010 working on a concept study with fellow members of a science team whose proposal to study asteroid geology has been selected as one of three finalists for NASAs New Frontiers Program. The project, OSIRIS-REx (Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security-Regolith Explorer), will marshal the expertise of scientists from 14 colleges and universities as well as the Goddard Space Flight Centre, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, the Johnson Space Centre and other organisations. Michael Drake, director of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, is the principal investigator.
A mission to probe the atmosphere and crust of Venus and a mission to drop a robotic lander on the moon and return with rocks for study are the other two proposals to have made it to the final round.

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With a little luck, scientists and engineers at the Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt will help to send a NASA spacecraft to land on an asteroid  late in this decade.
The two proposed interplanetary missions with Goddard connections were among three selected Monday to receive $3.3 million each for further cost and feasibility study under NASA's New Frontiers program. Only one will be funded after a final cut later this year.

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University of Winnipeg is part of research team OSIRIS-REx -- Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security-Regolith Explorer mission -- which has $3.3 million from the American space agency to develop a proposal by year's end to design an upcoming space mission.
That research mission would bring back pieces of an asteroid which could contain the building blocks to life in the solar system, on a round trip taking about seven years from blastoff to getting the space chunks safely back to Earth at a landing site in Utah. And the U of W would stand to get a small sample of the asteroid.

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