Amidst the bustling of classes changing, the UA mall hosted pre-launch festivities in order to celebrate the launch of OSIRIS-REx.
Students, faculty and members of the community were able to join the Arizona OSIRIS-REx team to watch a live broadcast of the pre-launch activities and the launch itself in Florida.
The team had tables set up on the mall by Old Main with informational pamphlets and members of the team answered questions about the mission.
Adrienne Barela, copy writer and content manager, said the OSIRIS-REx team is really trying to rally everyone together. To get in the spirit, there were activities on the mall such as games, trivia and free food. T-shirts, cups and hats were given away as prizes.
The spacecraft launched on its mission toward asteroid Bennu today, where OSIRIS-REx will grab a sample of the surface matter.
OSIRIS-REx will be the first U.S. asteroid sample return mission in history.
Payton Wells, a junior studying communications and marketing, was one of the KAMP radio emcees for the launch party event. Besides providing good tunes, Wells incorporated fun facts and information into her script.
“It has such a big significance for the UA and for society’s progression in science,” said Wells.
For Wells, this event is special because she went to the Phoenix Mission launch when she was a kid, and she feels that she is continuing a tradition.
“It is a big day for the UA,” said Barela. “We have been part of every major planetary mission with NASA, so this is another big opportunity and it is a day in history.”
The OSIRIS-REx launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 4:05 p.m. and is expected to return in 2023.
Follow Elizabeth O'Connell on Twitter.