The agency announced today that a team led by UCF Professor
Not only will Britt's team try and predict what U.S. astronauts might face during a landing -- think clouds of dust and not aliens -- but they also will play a role in helping
"We have never actually sent humans to small bodies [like asteroids], so there's a range of things we don't know about," said Britt, the project's principal investigator.
At the same time, Britt said he expects that the grant will provide a big boost to space research in the
"This is a big win for
With the grant money, Britt plans to jumpstart a research initiative dubbed CLASS, for the
These experts will include astronomers, geologists, physicists and chemists who will work together to develop models of how these bodies "work," including the potential interaction of space dust with landing craft, or how microgravity and the chill of space could impact operations.
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