Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Queen's University
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Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Departmental Colloquium - Wandering Through the Solar System by members of Engineering Physics 88


Michael Daly,
York University

Friday April 7th, 2017
1:30 p.m. Theatre A


Two members of the Engineering Physics class of 1988 have led two of the three 21st century Canadian planetary instruments - one to the Northern Regions of Mars and one on its way to asteroid 101955 Bennu.  The speaker, who was the lead engineer for the instruments, will discuss the design, development and science return of Canada?s first instruments to operate on the surface of another planet. The talk will then focus on the current Canadian contribution to NASA?s OSIRIS-REx Mission, the OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA), from the perspective of the lead instrument scientist.

This NASA mission launched in 2016 to asteroid 101955 Bennu with the major goal of returning a sample of Bennu. Bennu is very dark B-type asteroid, a rare subgroup of the dark, carbonaceous C-type. These asteroids are considered ?primitive? having undergone little processing from their time of formation. This talk will provide a summary of the mission and its objectives.  It will also detail the capabilities of OLA - the progenitor of a new class of space exploration lidars that are optimized for small-body exploration. The broader Canadian participation in the mission and the activities underway to prepare for the OLA dataset will also be described.