Dante Lauretta is a Professor of Planetary Science and Cosmochemistry at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. He received a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Arizona in 1993 and a Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Washington University in St. Louis in 1997. He was a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Geological Sciences at Arizona State University from 1997 through 1999. He was an Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Arizona State University from 1999 through 2001. He was hired on to the faculty at the University of Arizona in 2001.
His research interests focus on the chemistry and mineralogy of asteroids and comets as determined by in situ laboratory analysis and spacecraft observations. This work is important for constraining the chemistry of the solar nebula, understanding the origin of complex organic molecules in the early Solar System, and constraining the initial chemical inventories of the terrestrial planets. He is an expert in the analysis of extraterrestrial materials. In particular, he uses inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron microprobe analysis (EPMA), and X-ray diffraction (XRD) to study meteorites, lunar samples, and particles returned by Stardust.
He is currently serving as the Principal investigator on NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission to return 60 g of carbonaceous asteroid regolith from asteroid 1999 RQ36.In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.