Interviewed: Dr. Michael Daly on Canada’s Participation in the OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission

Artist illustration of OSIRIS-REx approaching asteroid Bennu. Credit: NASA

In this weeks SpaceQ podcast I spoke with Dr. Michael Daly, Associate Professor at York University about the international, though NASA led, Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer mission, or as it’s commonly called, OSIRIS-REx.

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will rendezvous with near-Earth asteroid Bennu next August where it will conduct a series of science investigations including returning a sample to Earth to be analyzed. NASA says the mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft launched on September 8, 2016. Canada is participating in the mission by providing the OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter or OLA, which will create a 3-D map of asteroid Bennu’s shape along with helping with navigation.

Dr. Daly is the principal Investigator of the Canadian Science Team. York University’s Planetary Exploration Instrumentation Laboratory is the lead university for the Canadian OLA instrument contribution. While York University is taking the OLA instrumentation lead, other Canadian contributors include the University of Calgary, the University of British Columbia, the University of Winnipeg, the University of Toronto and the Royal Ontario Museum.

The mission to asteroid Bennu will continue until March 2021 when the spacecraft will return to Earth arriving 2 1/2 years later in September 2023. At that point the sample return capsule will return to Utah where it will be collected and analyzed.

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About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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