Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

UA scientist seeking big bucks from NASA


He hopes one of his two proposed projects, each worth $200 million, wins a grant.

TEMPE – A University of Arizona scientist has requests for two space mission grants – each worth more than $200 million – under consideration by NASA.

Yesterday, the Arizona Board of Regents granted approval to UA to negotiate contracts if NASA selects one of UA planetary scientist William V. Boynton’s projects.

If either project is selected by the agency, it would be the single largest grant in UA history. The current leader is an $80 million sponsored project by UA scientist Rodger Thompson.

Boynton’s two proposals are:

* The Lunar Discovery Orbiter, a robotic, remote-sensing satellite that would map the moon’s mineral and elemental composition, gravity and topography from August 1999 through August 2000.

* The Comet Nucleus Penetrator, a reworking of a project that was approved in 1989 but later killed by NASA budget cuts.

The Penetrator, a spacecraft with a complement of instruments, would return data related to the composition and physical state of the nucleus of the comet Kopff.

Boynton will know within a few months whether one of his two projects will be among three finalists. Twenty-four projects are being considered.

The three finalists then will have about nine months to demonstrate why they should win the final project.

Michael Cusanovich, UA vice president for research, said that either project would have a tremendous impact on the university and the local economy.

The orbiter would be a $220 million grant over six years, with 60 percent of the money being spent locally, he said. UA also could gain $30 million in indirect cost funding.

The Comet Nucleus Penetrator project is worth $250 million over a 10-year period.

The NASA grant program under which the winning grant will be selected is called “Discovery.’

It represents an effort to put new missions in the hands of the universities. At times university students themselves would control the missions.

“I’m excited about the chance to participate in NASA’s new way of doing business,’ Boynton said. “By allowing missions to be run by universities, NASA can expect a much greater return per dollar, both scientific and educational, than for missions run by NASA centers.’

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

Search site | Terms of service