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NASA Funded Space Research Center to Open at UCF

A new space research center will open at the University of Central Florida later this year. The center will help NASA explore the moon, asteroids and other planets.

[Image: NASA aims to use the Orion spacecraft to explore asteroids. Research from the Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science will help plan these missions]

The Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science- or CLASS- is being funded through a $6 million dollar NASA grant to UCF physics professor Daniel Britt.

Britt says the space agency is trying to make its budget go further by funding institutes like his.

“That’s what NASA is interested in doing is to get the scientists on board with the exploration concepts early on and create institutes that really focus on the things that are important to make exploration safer and cheaper," he says. 

Professor Britt says NASA didn’t spend enough time consulting with experts before announcing its plan in April to capture an asteroid for study.

"They had not engaged with an institute like mine who could help them do it smart," he says. 

"So they've been playing catch up because they got a lot of people who were experts in the field saying 'excuse me, but you have this wrong.'" 

Britt says the plan still has merit. 

In the meantime, he says CLASS will boost Central Florida’s importance as a center for space research- and improve UCF’s chances of winning future grant funding. 


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