University of Arizona

A Global Leader in Space Achievement

U.S. News & World Report Ranks University of Arizona No.2 in Space Science

In its 2022 Best Global Universities ranking, U.S. News & World Report ranked UArizona No. 2 among public universities in space science. The university placed No. 10 overall and No. 7 in the United States. UArizona earned top marks for its research reputation in space sciences as well as the number of               citations and publications by its researchers.

UArizona-Led OSIRIS-REx Mission a Historic, Award-Winning Success

Since its 2016 launch to its successful landing on the asteroid Bennu in 2020 and finally its successful sampling and stowage of the asteroid’s pristine organic material, NASA’s UArizona-led OSIRIS-REx mission is a stellar achievement for the team led by Principal Investigator and Planetary Sciences Professor Dante Lauretta. As it returns to Earth, UArizona will be among the first to study          and analyze the groundbreaking sample. The team received the 2022 John L. “Jack” Swigert Jr. Award for Space Exploration.

UArizona Researchers Play Key Roles in NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, billed as a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, launched in December with leadership roles by UArizona husband-and-wife researchers Marcia and George Rieke. Marcia is the principal investigator for the Near Infrared Camera, or NIRCam, the heart of the Webb Telescope for which she led the development. George is science team lead for the Mid-Infrared Instrument, or MIRI, which was added to the telescope to expand the telescope’s reach. UArizona’s leadership of two of Webb’s core instruments reflects the university’s 60 years of leadership in infrared astronomy.

Giant Magellan Telescope Closer to Completion

One of the world’s largest and most anticipated telescopes, the Giant Magellan Telescope recently had its sixth mirror cast at the Richard F. Caris 

Mirror Lab underneath the stands of Arizona Stadium. This telescope, which will see farther into the universe and capture more detail than any optical telescope before, will be anchored in Chile’s Atacama Desert. UArizona’s mirror lab has been making the world’s most advanced mirrors for almost 40 years. 

UArizona to Help NASA Understand Solar Wind, Plasma 

UArizona Planetary Sciences Assistant Professor Kristopher Klein serves as the deputy principal investigator for the HelioSwarm mission, which will study plasma—which makes up 99% of the visible universe. The sun’s plasma is so superheated and energetic that it escapes the sun’s gravity and rushes outward as solar wind. The mission, tentatively scheduled to launch in 2028 and collect data for one year, will provide scientists with data to study turbulence in the solar wind.

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