12.10pm Saturday 3rd February 2024

Sara Russell is Research Leader in Meteorites at the Natural History Museum in London. Prior to this she was a student at the University of Cambridge and the Open University, and postdoc at Caltech and the Smithsonian Institution.  Her research interests are in the formation and evolution of the Solar System and the Earth’s moon.  She heads the meteorites team of the Museum who currently work on the origin of Earth’s water, the primordial composition of the inner solar system, and the characterisation of our new favourite meteorite, Winchcombe. She is a Science Team member of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx and JAXA’s Hayabusa2 asteroid return missions, and International Science Board member for JAXA’s MMX mission to Phobos.

Bringing pieces of an asteroid to Earth

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission is the first U.S. mission to collect a sample from an asteroid. After having been launched in 2016, it returned to Earth on Sept. 24, 2023, to drop off material from near-Earth asteroid Bennu. Depositing the sample in the Utah desert from where it was successfully retrieved. In this talk, Sara will discuss this mission in the context of other sample return missions, and will present some initial results from the analyses of the very special asteroid sample.

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