In our instrument creation role, we design and operate remote-sensing instruments on robotic planetary missions.See Instruments +
The research interests of our scientists focus primarily on Mars, Jupiter’s moon Europa, various asteroids, and Earth.See Software & Tools +
- MISSION: OSIRIS-REx
- Launch: September 2016
- Arrival: December 2018
The OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer (OTES) is conducting surveys to map mineral and chemical abundances and measuring asteroid Bennu’s surface temperature and properties. OTES is the first such instrument built entirely on the Arizona State University (ASU) campus.
OSIRIS-REx is currenty orbiting Bennu from which it will collect and bring a small sample back to Earth. The mission launched September 8, 2016, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As planned, the spacecraft will collect the sample in summer 2020 and return it to Earth in September 2023.
- MISSION: Mars Odyssey
- Launch: April 2001
- Arrival: October 2001
The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) is an instrument on board the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. It combines a 5-wavelength visual imaging system with a 9-wavelength infrared imaging system.
Mars Odyssey launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 7, 2001 and arrived at Mars on October 24, 2001. It spent the next several months achieving a circular mapping orbit by aerobraking (dipping into the atmosphere to slow and shrink the orbit). Aerobraking concluded in early February 2002, and primary mapping operations began a few weeks later. The spacecraft is in a 2-hour orbit around Mars.
Project Asteroid – Mapping Bennu
Phil Christensen talks about OTES and how an instrument is prepared and tested for space travel. He also explains why it’s important to test an instrument even after it has been launched.