Josh Grindlay: Designing and Building a Harvard-MIT Student Instrument to Map an Asteroid in 2019.
Over the past 5 years, students at Harvard and MIT designed and then built an X-ray imaging spectrometer that is one of 5 instruments on the OSIRIS REx mission launched in September 2016 to rendezvous with an asteroid in 2018. The REXIS instrument will make X-ray maps of the concentration regions of elements (iron, magnesium, etc.) on the asteroid surface in 2019 to help in choosing a location to gather a sample for return to Earth in 2022. Grindlay describes how this project developed, from initial concept to the harrowing schedule to deliver the instrument to the spacecraft for final integration and launch, and the work now underway to prepare for the data.