New Discoveries Lecture Series

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About the Series

The SESE New Discoveries Lecture Series is designed to bring the exciting scientific work of SESE to the general public in a series of informative and up-to-date evening lectures. Each will be given by a member of the SESE faculty.

Lectures begin at 7:30 p.m. MST and last about an hour. They are free and open to the public.

OSIRIS-REx Mission to Asteroid Bennu: Latest Images and Updates

Drs. Phil Christensen, Vicky Hamilton, and Devin Schrader

January 31, 2019 | Register

About the Speakers:

Dr. Phil Christensen is a co-investigator on the OSIRIS-REx mission and the lead of the spacecraft’s OTES instrument. He is a Regents' Professor and the Ed and Helen Korrick Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU. As a geologist and geophysicist, his research interests focus on the composition, processes, and physical properties of Mars, the Earth, and other planetary surfaces. In addition to building OTES for OSIRIS-REx, Christensen has built five science instruments that have flown on NASA missions to Mars, including the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera on Mars Odyssey, the Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer  (Mini-TES) instruments on the Mars Exploration Rovers, and the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) on Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Observer.

Dr. Vicky Hamilton is a co-investigator on the OSIRIS-REx mission and the lead for the OTES spectrum analysis team. She is a planetary geologist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado and studies Mars and Earth and asteroids. The focus of her research is understanding the spectral features of minerals and rocks in the visible, near infrared, and thermal infrared portions of the electro-magnetic spectrum and using this knowledge to identify and/or characterize the rocks and minerals on planetary surfaces. Most of her recent work has focused on analysis of data from ongoing NASA spacecraft missions at Mars, in addition to her work as co-investigator on the OSIRIS-REx and Lucy missions.

Dr. Devin Schrader provides sample science support and is a carbonaceous meteorite collaborator on the OSIRIS-REx mission. He is also an assistant research professor with the ASU Center for Meteorite Studies. His research concerns the study of primitive meteorites and meteorites that were thermally and aqueously altered on their parent asteroid. He utilizes petrographic, compositional, thermodynamic, and isotopic data in to study small bodies in the early solar system.

About the Lecture:

While many on Earth prepared to welcome in the New Year 2019, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, 70 million miles away, carried out a single, eight-second burn of its thrusters – and broke a space exploration record. The spacecraft entered into orbit around the asteroid Bennu, and made Bennu the smallest object ever to be orbited by a spacecraft.

Now that the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is closer to Bennu, physical details about the asteroid will leap into sharper focus, and the spacecraft’s tour of this rubble pile of primordial debris will become increasingly detailed and focused.

At this lecture, join OSIRIS-REx mission team members Phil Christensen and Devin Schrader of ASU and Vicky Hamilton of the Southwest Research Institute for a closer look at Bennu and what we hope to learn from this ongoing mission.

Where to go

The Marston Exploration Theater is located on the first floor of ASU's Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV (ISTB 4), the home of the School of Earth and Space Exploration. ISTB 4 (map) is located near the intersection of Rural and Terrace Road in Tempe on the east side of campus. This seven-story structure is ASU’s largest research facility and is accessible on foot via Orange Street and McAllister Ave. If arriving by Light Rail, exit at the University and Rural Road stop.


Parking is available inside the Rural Road parking structure just east of ISTB 4. From the parking structure, walk west and enter ISTB 4 through the glass doors on the north side of the building. Please note that a parking fee is charged upon exit. There is additional pay parking directly south of ISTB 4 available for $2 / hour. There is an automated payment registration kiosk on the parking lot's west side (the corner near the building).

When to arrive

RSVP links will be provided to register and reserve your seat for each event.  Attendees should arrive no later than 7:15 p.m. to gain entry into the theater. No-show seats will be released on a first come/first serve basis.  


Please contact Stephanee Germaine, SESE Alumni and Events Coordinator at