Dr. Campins’ research focuses on asteroids and comets. He also has worked on several space agency projects including NASA’s OSIRIS-REx and the European Space Agency’s Marco Polo-R missions.

OSIRIS-REx is NASA’s mission to launch a spacecraft to an asteroid in 2016 and use a robotic arm to pluck samples that could better explain our solar system’s formation and how life began. The mission, called Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, will be the first U.S. mission to carry samples from an asteroid back to Earth.

Marco Polo-R is a European Space Agency mission. The primary objective of the project is to return a sample from a primitive Near-Earth Asteroid. Only one low-albedo asteroid, namely the main belt asteroid (243) Mathilde, has been observed by spacecraft to date and only during a brief fly-by and with limited instrumentation. The Marco Polo mission expects to return fundamental and exciting science during the mission itself and then from the findings analyzed in a laboratory.