U of A and NASA looking at asteroid headed for Earth - Tucson News Now

U of A and NASA looking at asteroid headed for Earth

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - The University of Arizona won an $800 million contract from NASA to go to an asteroid.

The OSIRIS-REx project will take a sample from Asteroid 1999RQ36 which scientists hope unlocks the origins of life on Earth, but that's not all.

"It actually has the highest probability of any object to hit the Earth in the year 2182," OSIRIS-REx Principal Investigator Michael Drake explained.

It's clearly not an eminent threat and not the main focus of the mission, but it's something NASA and U of A scientists are looking for from OSIRIS-REx.

Drake told KOLD News 13, "To understand how we'd actually mitigate against a dinosaur type ending impact. We don't want to go the way of the dinosaurs."

So to avoid that scenario, NASA and the U of A will send OSIRIS-REx to the asteroid and collect samples to get us some much needed asteroid answers.

"In spite of Bruce Willis, we do not know how to deflect these things. We will learn scientifically the properties we need to decide how to deflect them," Drake said.

While they try to figure out how to send the asteroid in another direction, scientists believe this mission is just the beginning.

Peter Smith, a scientist on the mission said, "It's the precursor to human missions to an asteroid and how exciting would that be. Can you imagine being tethered to your spacecraft and floating over to the asteroid and picking up samples."

Hard to believe we watched the Hollywood version 13 years ago and in another 13 we could know more of the real life story.

Copyright 2011 KOLD. All rights reserved.

  • Local newsMore>>

  • Foles leads three Cat brigade to Super Bowl

    Foles leads three Cat brigade to Super Bowl

    Monday, January 22 2018 2:38 AM EST2018-01-22 07:38:39 GMT
    Nick Foles played for the Arizona Wildcats from 2009-2011 (Photo courtesy: AP)Nick Foles played for the Arizona Wildcats from 2009-2011 (Photo courtesy: AP)

    Nick Foles ('11) is the first UA quarterback to lead an NFL team to the Super Bowl.

    Nick Foles ('11) is the first UA quarterback to lead an NFL team to the Super Bowl.

  • Freeze Warning has homeless shelter making adjustments

    Freeze Warning has homeless shelter making adjustments

    Sunday, January 21 2018 11:22 PM EST2018-01-22 04:22:52 GMT

    Inside the climate-controlled chapel, with football as the evening entertainment, Steve Michaelis was thankful on this Sunday night. He knows of the alternative. "God bless it. It's a blessing from God. To be able to come in. Anybody that helps somebody like that. They're out there with nothing," he said.

    Inside the climate-controlled chapel, with football as the evening entertainment, Steve Michaelis was thankful on this Sunday night. He knows of the alternative.

  • Former volleyball coach arrested for sexual contact with underage girl

    Former volleyball coach arrested for sexual contact with underage girl

    Sunday, January 21 2018 8:55 PM EST2018-01-22 01:55:48 GMT
    Forman faces felony charges (Source: Tucson Police Department).Forman faces felony charges (Source: Tucson Police Department).

    Police in Tucson arrested a former assistant volleyball coach for what they say was a sexual relationship with an underage girl. Officers started investigating Saturday, January 20, a potential relationship between 22-year-old Robert Forman II and a girl he met at Ironwood Ridge High School, according to a release from the department.

    Police in Tucson arrested a former assistant volleyball coach for what they say was a sexual relationship with an underage girl. Officers started investigating Saturday, January 20, a potential relationship between 22-year-old Robert Forman II and a girl he met at Ironwood Ridge High School, according to a release from the department.

Powered by Frankly