Monday, October 24

Showtime: 7:00 PM

Chautauqua Community House

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NASA always has a mission and the objective for its OSIRIS-REx (Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer) is no exception. For OSIRIS-Rex, the goal is to return a pristine sample from the carbonaceous asteroid Bennu. Clues to the origin and evolution of the solar system, initial stages of planet formation and the source of organic compounds can be gathered from this likely carbon-rich sample. Organic molecules previously found in other meteorite and comet samples indicate that some of life’s ingredients can be created in space; scientists want to see if Bennu contains such elements. Additionally, OSIRIS-REx will reveal information about how near-Earth asteroid orbits change over time and potentially predict which asteroids could threaten the Earth. The mission launches September 3, 2016 and is expected to return March 3, 2021.

Speaker: Dr. Vicky Hamilton is a planetary geologist at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).  She operates a laboratory where she studies and measures the composition and physical properties of minerals, rocks and meteorites from Mars, the moon and asteroids using infrared spectroscopy.