Cosmochemist Wang to study samples from asteroid Bennu

Kun Wang

Kun Wang, assistant professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, was selected for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Sample Analysis Participating Scientist Program.

The OSIRIS-REx mission will bring material from a near-Earth asteroid, Bennu, back to Earth in 2023. As part of the program, Wang received a three-year $503,856 grant to investigate moderately volatile element isotopic compositions of asteroid Bennu as well as their implications for the asteroid’s volatile depletion history.

Reaching far-off asteroids — much less returning material from them — is incredibly challenging. But, according to Wang, the payoff of sample return missions is well worth the effort. By collecting pristine samples directly from asteroid Bennu, planetary scientists have the opportunity to glean information about the early solar system that’s unavailable in meteorites found on Earth.

Read more in The Ampersand.

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