May 5, 2022

NASA deputy administrator to visit UArizona campus

  • What: On-campus media availability with NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, who will discuss the University of Arizona's role in critical NASA missions.
  • When: Friday, May 6, 4:15 p.m.
  • Where: Old Main, second floor lobby
  • RSVP: RSVP to Nick Prevenas,, if you plan to attend.

TUCSON, Ariz. NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy will visit the University of Arizona Friday to meet with Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation Elizabeth "Betsy" Cantwell and eight campus researchers involved some of NASA's largest and most impactful missions.

Following the meeting, Melroy will hold a press conference to discuss the university's critical role in NASA projects.

Melroy will meet and hear brief five-minute presentations from the following UArizona researchers during her campus visit:

  • Dani DellaGiustina, assistant professor of planetary sciences, deputy principal investigator and image processing lead scientist for NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, and principal investigator of OSIRIS-APEX, which will visit near-Earth asteroid Apophis.
  • Marcia Rieke, Regents Professor of Astronomy and principal investigator for the Near Infrared Camera, or NIRCam, instrument onboard NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.
  • Amy Mainzer, professor of planetary sciences and director of NASA's NEO Surveyor, a space-based survey designed to discover and measure asteroids and comets that could pose an impact hazard to Earth. 
  • Carlos Vargas, assistant astronomer at Steward Observatory and principal investigator for NASA's Aspera mission, which will study galaxy evolution with a space telescope barely larger than a mini fridge.
  • Kristopher Klein, assistant professor of planetary sciences and deputy principal investigator for NASA's HelioSwarm mission, a "swarm" of nine spacecraft that will set out to better understand plasma, the state of matter that makes up 99% of the visible universe.
  • Shane Byrne, professor of planetary sciences and co-investigator for the High Resolution Imaging Experiment, or HiRISE, camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
  • Pierre Haenecour, assistant professor of planetary sciences and sample science co-investigator for OSIRIS-REx.
  • Erika Hamden, assistant professor of astronomy and principal investigator of Hyperion, a mission designed to observe molecular hydrogen in our galaxy to better understand how stars form.

NOTE: DellaGiustina's five-minute presentation also will be open to the media at 3:10 p.m. Those interested in attending should email Nick Prevenas, to make arrangements.

NASA announced in April that DellaGiustina, a UArizona alumna, would lead the OSIRIS-APEX mission – an extension of OSIRIS-REx mission. Both missions will likely yield fundamental knowledge about the origin of terrestrial planets and strategies to avoid potential asteroid impacts on Earth.

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Media contact:
Nick Prevenas
University Communications

The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top 50 public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the university is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university ranked in the top 20 in 2020 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $761 million in annual research expenditures. The university advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 66 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually. For the latest on the University of Arizona response to the novel coronavirus, visit the university's COVID-19 webpage.

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