Artist's depiction of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.

Scientists peer inside an asteroid

Oct. 9, 2020

New findings from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission suggest that the interior of the asteroid Bennu could be weaker and less dense than its outer layers—like a crème-filled chocolate egg flying though space. The results appear in a study published today in the journal Science Advances and led by the University of...

Artist's depiction of the twin Janus spacecraft. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

Where no spacecraft has gone before: A close encounter with binary asteroids

Sept. 10, 2020

CU Boulder and Lockheed Martin will lead a new space mission to capture the first-ever closeup look at a mysterious class of solar system objects: binary asteroids. These bodies are pairs of asteroids that orbit around each other in space, much like the Earth and moon. In a project review...

OSIRIS-REx observed small bits of material leaping off the surface of the asteroid Bennu on Jan. 19, 2019. (Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin)

How small particles could reshape Bennu and other asteroids

Sept. 9, 2020

In January 2019, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was orbiting the asteroid Bennu when the spacecraft’s cameras caught something unexpected: Thousands of tiny bits of material, some just the size of marbles, began to bounce off the surface of the asteroid—like a game of ping-pong in space. Since then, many more such...

OSIRIS-REx rendering

Taking the measure of an asteroid

Oct. 28, 2019

Researchers at CU Boulder have gotten front-row seats to one of the closest encounters with an asteroid in history. On Dec. 4, 2018, NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft zipped to within 4.5 miles of the asteroid Bennu. This space rock has an orbit that carries...

Asteroid imager rendering

CU Professor Partners With Lockheed Martin To Study Binary Asteroids

July 5, 2019

Dr. Dan Scheeres was in Japan waiting for an important announcement that took an extra day to come. He found out his plan to study binary asteroids was allowed to proceed by NASA. “We want to send two small spacecraft so we can also see what the temperature of the...

Graphic of the Janus spacecraft mapping a binary asteroid

Double take: Satellites to get an eye on asteroid pairs

June 21, 2019

In just three years, a new space mission led by CU Boulder could examine some of the solar system’s most dynamic duos: binary asteroids. NASA announced this week that the Janus: Reconnaissance Missions to Binary Asteroids mission had been selected as a finalist in the space agency’s new small satellite...

Bennu

Podcast: Orbiting the tiny asteroid Bennu with OSIRIS-REx

Feb. 18, 2019

The Space Shot podcast interviews Distinguished Professor Dan Scheeres about the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission. Scheeres is leading radio science on the mission. OSIRIS-REx launched in September 2016 and has traveled more than one billion miles since, looping around the sun and now in orbit around Bennu. Listen on...

Dan Scheeres

Meet our Faculty - Dan Scheeres

Dec. 12, 2018

Daniel Scheeres is a University of Colorado Distinguished Professor, the A. Richard Seebass Chair of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. His research spans astrodynamics and spacecraft navigation to planetary science and celestial mechanics. A primary focus of Scheeres’ work is studying mechanics of...

OSIRIS-REx

Taking the measure of an asteroid

Dec. 3, 2018

University of Colorado Boulder scientists have a front row seat today to observe a NASA spacecraft as it arrives at the asteroid Bennu, coming to within 4.5 miles of the space rock. This close approach, followed by a flyby Dec. 4, up is the first in a series of planned...

A rendering of a space probe approaching an asteroid.

The Wild Lives of Asteroids

March 13, 2018

Saturday, March 17, 2018 • 1–3 p.m. Daniel Scheeres, Distinguished Professor, Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences Asteroids frequently pass close to or impact the Earth, very occasionally with devastating consequences for life. The last few decades of space exploration and scientific research have turned our understanding of asteroids completely inside out,...

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