Robert Fitzgerald

Robert Fitzgerald, educated at North Carolina State University and Duke University, is named on seven patents covering consumer, analytical and industrial segments and has participated in three NASA science projects including the current Mars Science Laboratory Mission.  Most recently he has been named an Ambassador for the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission.  Currently, Robert is Vice President of MicroSolv Technology Corporation and resides in Apex, North Carolina with his wife Debra.  They have two sons, the oldest gainfully employed and the youngest currently a junior in college.  The have rescued their second greyhound 'Eli' who was given up for adoption at the ripe age of 12 years.



Robert's hobbies (according to his wife are many) include beach lounging, boating/fishing, traveling, astrophotography and home repairs.  He is grateful for his mentor's help and guidance, Michael Fulbright, PhD, because without Michael's help, he would have quickly passed on astrophotography due to it's time, technical hurdles and cost of equipment.  Robert has encouraged many individuals to pursue astrophotography through outreach with his astronomy club as well as contacts made at star parties and has made several contributions to our hobby through relationships with key astronomy equipment manufacturers.  Robert attempts to pass along the gift of mentorship and encourages everyone to do the same.

"NASA is coming for you, Bennu! - An update on the OSIRIS-REx Mission"

Robert Fitzgerald will present NASA's mission to an asteroid which will help us understand the early Solar System and how life may have begun here on Earth.  The September 2016 rocket launch will mark the start of a seven year journey which will document, image, remotely analyze and retrieve a surface sample of the asteroid for return back to Earth.  As an Ambassador for OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, Robert will present an overview of the effort from launch to sample recovery.  Astronomy is one of few professional fields where amateurs can directly support professionals so Robert will explain how amateur astroimagers support missions such as OSIRIS-REx.