Currently on a two-year outbound journey to the asteroid Bennu, OSIRIS-REx seeks answers to some of man-kind’s oldest questions. Where did we come from? What is our destiny? Bennu, a carbonaceous asteroid, may contain the molecular precursors to the origin of life and Earth’s oceans. Bennu is also one of the most potentially hazardous asteroids, as it has a relatively high probability of impacting the Earth late in the 22nd century. OSIRIS-REx will determine Bennu’s physical and chemical properties, which will be critical to know in the event of an impact mitigation mission. Bennu’s size, primitive composition, and potentially hazardous orbit make it one of the most fascinating and accessible NEOs … and the ideal OSIRIS-REx target asteroid.
Dr. Vicky Hamilton will share OSIRIS-REx’s newest developments and findings on its mission to Bennu.
Speaker: Dr. Vicky Hamilton is the Section Manager, Planetary Physics in the Department of Space Science at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder. She is a planetary geologist and spectroscopy specialist interested in the mineralogy and igneous processes/histories of planetary bodies, studying primarily Mars and Earth. The main focus of her research is understanding the spectral features of minerals and rocks in the visible, near infrared, and thermal infrared portions of the electro-magnetic spectrum and using this knowledge to identify and/or characterize the rocks and minerals on planetary surfaces. Dr. Hamilton’s most recent work has focused on analysis of data from ongoing NASA spacecraft missions at Mars. She is also a team member of the OSIRIS-REx mission, which will carry VNIR and TIR spectrometers to an asteroid later this decade.