NASA officials toured the University of Central Florida Tuesday as part of a new grant to explore outer space.

UCF Physics professor Dr. Daniel Britt is excited to team up with scientists from the Kennedy Space Center. "This will allow us to do a lot of really neat stuff.”

Britt and NASA established the Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science with the $6 million grant.

During the tour, NASA scientists looked at a drop tower that simulates what the conditions are like on an asteroid.

The students and scientists examined a piece of a meteorite and talked about different experiments that will give them a better understanding of space.

Britt said there’s a lot to accomplish by working together. "The whole idea is that you cut costs and you cut risks by exploring smarter.”

Britt said by exploring smarter they hope to have a greater understanding of space. 

Over 1,000 people were injured in Russia this past February after a meteor blast shook the region.

Britt said having a better understanding of how often and why this happens could keep the public safer from similar situations. "The issue is how often does that occur and what can you do about it and this is something we’ll be looking into.”

"It’s been a long time in coming," said Kennedy Space Center representative Jack Fox. "We are very excited to have more of a long-term relationship with UCF.”

UCF leaders said results from the upcoming research will benefit NASA’s future exploration missions. The research will begin at the start of the year when they are expected to get the money.