Clarkson Research Professor Dana Barry is on the asteroid Bennu. Her name is aboard NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft that recently landed on the asteroid (October 20, 2020). The spacecraft collected a 60-gram sample of the asteroid’s surface material using a robotic arm, TAGSAM (Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism). The sample is expected to return to Earth in 2023. Scientists hope to learn about the composition of the asteroid’s minerals and thereby obtain information about the origin of the Earth and solar system. The NASA spacecraft was launched in 2016 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida for a journey to Bennu, which is more than 321 million kilometers from the Earth. The spacecraft orbited around the asteroid (a small rocky object that orbits the Sun) for about two years preparing for the “Touch and Go Maneuver” in order to collect a sample.
Dr. Barry’s name resides on a device placed in the Sample Return Capsule (SRC) for a round-trip journey from Earth to Bennu, and back. Her name is also on a second device affixed to the spacecraft instrument deck for continued travels in space.
Dr. Dana Barry previously worked in Clarkson’s Space Grant Program, has carried out NASA-related mission work, and is a member of the Planetary Society. She is a Research Professor in Clarkson University’s Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, an Instructional Support Assistant at SUNY Canton, Scientific Board President and Professor for Ansted University, and a Chemistry Ambassador and officer for the American Chemical Society. She has five graduate degrees and close to 300 professional/academic publications (including four Springer Nature textbooks). Her numerous honors include 20 Consecutive APEX Awards for Publication Excellence from Communications Concepts in Springfield, VA and a Marquis Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding professional contributions. In addition, she received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Materials Research Society of Japan (MRS-J) in 2019.