by Jim Nintzel
The UA Lunar and Planetary Lab yesterday unveiled a new mural on the side of the Michael J. Drake Building, where the work of developing the the OSIRIS-REx space probe is underway. The spacecraft is designed to spend more than a year orbiting an asteroid before getting close enough to grab a sample and shoot it back to earth. (More on the amazing mission here.)
Daniel Stolte of the UA News Service explains how the mural came together:
The OSIRIS-REx mission mural on the west side of the Drake Building was painted by UA students as part of a mural painting class taught by Alfred Quiroz, a professor of art in the UA's School of Art. Quiroz also oversaw the creation of the mural for the Phoenix Mars Lander mission in 2006.
"The OSIRIS-REx mission benefits from the diverse talents of UofA students in many ways," said the mission's principal investigator, Dante Lauretta, a professor of planetary science in the UA's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. "For this project, we sought to bring the excitement of an asteroid sample return mission to a piece of public art for all of Tucson to enjoy."
After a meeting with Lauretta to get an idea of the scope of the mission, Quiroz's crew, consisting of seven undergraduate students and two graduate students who had never designed or painted a mural, went to work, creating the mural over the course of the fall semester of 2014.
Deputy principal investigator Ed Beshore said: "The OSIRIS-REx mission is far more than the technical achievement of returning a sample from an ancient asteroid. It symbolizes a universal human drive to understand the mystery that is our universe. The mural has succeeded in reflecting both of these ideas. We are grateful to Dr. Quiroz and his students for this wonderful addition to our building."
"My students prepared sketches and I guided them to create a final presentation," Quiroz said. "Once the mural design was approved, we immediately began the layout utilizing a grid on the final design. I introduced the students to the under-painting method of using complementary colors, so in essence we painted the mural twice."
"It was a real pleasure to collaborate with Professor Quiroz and his talented group of students," Lauretta said. "The result is an amazing work of creative art and a fitting tribute to the mission and to Michael Drake, our leader during the early stages of mission development."