Washington, D.C.– Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today congratulated the University of Arizona (UA) on its newly announced contract to lead an $800 million National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) asteroid research mission. The mission is expected to inject $200 million into the state economy, more than the popular Mars Rover program.
The OSIRIS-REx mission will send a spacecraft to the asteroid 1999 RQ36, which dates to the early solar system and is thought to be rich with organic compounds that may have seeded life on Earth. The UA team is led by Michael Drake, director of the school’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland will manage the mission for NASA. OSIRIS-REx stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer.
“This is a tremendous boost to our economy, our education system, our prestige and our scientific community,” Grijalva said. “The University has been leading the way in astronomical studies for decades, and there’s no better home for a mission like this. We’re going to see a lot of interest in Southern Arizona for years to come because of this award, and I congratulate the school and the entire team involved. Forget politics – this is straight up good news for our state no matter what you do.”
All mission science operations will be performed on the UA campus. The mission will include the OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite built by UA as well as instruments built by NASA, Arizona State University (ASU) and the Canadian Space Agency. The team includes UA, NASA Goddard, Lockheed Martin, ASU, KinetX, the Canadian Space Agency, NASA Johnson Space Center, NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Langley Research Center, and researchers from other academic sites.
For more information, call UA Associate Vice President for Federal Relations Shay Stautz at (520) 621-3108.