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The Universe in the Classroom  

Welcome to the Universe in the Classroom! This electronic educational newsletter is for teachers and other educators around the world who want to help students of all ages learn more about the wonders of the universe through astronomy.

On this page, you can read the current issue, subscribe to receive updates and browse our archives. You can also learn more about the Universe in the Classroom and find out about how you can help by writing an article, translating the newsletter or making a donation.

Current issue: Spring 2012

From Vermin to Destination: A Mission to an Asteroid

By Anna Spitz, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

spacecraft approaching asteroid

Please note: in response to reader feedback, UITC has been reformatted to better accommodate horizontal screen viewing and is now available in pdf format only.

Long ago astronomers used to call asteroids “vermin of the skies.” These small rocky bodies “got in the way” of “important” objects of study. But now asteroids are one of the hottest topics of interest for researchers, students, and policy makers. They are destinations, remnants of earliest materials, sources for precious minerals, possible threats, and even targets for human colonization.

No longer simply thought of as fragments or pieces of a failed planet, they are fascinating objects in their own right and can hold the clues to our past as well as our future. The next big step in understanding asteroids is NASA’s, OSIRIS-REx mission, which will explore one of these primitive objects and return a sample to Earth.

In this edition of Universe in the Classroom, find out about asteroids and the insights they can provide into the origins of the solar system, and how the OSIRIS-REx mission will return a sample of an asteroid to Earth for study by scientists.

We thank the following Universe in the Classroom sponsors

Donat G. Wentzel

The Thomason Foundation

Al Whaley

If you would like to support this program click here.







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