• Sat. Jul 31st, 2021

The season is ripe for the retrieval of samples from space missions.


Dec 10, 2020

The Johnson Space Center (JSC) of NASA is finally enjoying its hosting of samples from previous missions to various parts in space. Astromaterials curator of JSC, Francis McCubbin, noted that the facility hosts other materials retrieved during space missions. These lunar samples were among the first to be recovered from the agency’s missions through its partnership with space and satellite operator companies. 

The Apollo came back with samples plucked from an asteroid surface by robotic machines. McCubbin explained that scientists would analyze these materials and give their inferences concerning the research that they uncover. Moreover, they will authenticate the theories that astronomers and cosmic researchers have been putting forward for confirmation. 

Kathleen Vander Kaaden, a planetary scientist, noted that the samples would be essential in explaining and dating of the life of the celestial bodies in space. The samples will explain if the organic matter recovered from the asteroids have a connection with the emergence of the Earth. 

Scientists and astronomers will be observing the Hayabusa2 space vehicle in the navigation to Earth to return the samples retrieved from the Ryugu asteroid. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) called the asteroid Ryugu after a famous story in the country which unravels new knowledge that was hidden. The scientists think that the samples collected from the asteroid will reveal data that they did not have in the past. 

The past 100 years have been full of sample analysis operations and the formulation of hypotheses trying to explain Earth’s origin. Stardust and Genesis programs gathered materials explaining the cosmos in the last two decades. On the other hand, Hayabusa returned samples from the Itokawa asteroid to Earth ten years ago. Moreover, Japan is conducting operations in preparation to receive samples from the next Martian Moon Exploration (MMX) and those from the exploits around the Martian moon called Phobos. 

Other missions ready to collect samples include the Chang’e 5 mission from China, which deployed the Tianwen-1 payload to gather samples from Mars. Another mission to recover samples is Russia’s Lunar-25 mission, which will deploy for the moon next year. 

Scientists think that studying a variety of samples from different parts of the solar system can help understand the development and evolution of the solar system to what it currently is. 

Finally, McCubbin articulated that scientists have the opportunity to recover samples in this period before the situation and the economy normalizes. Additionally, the scientists can check on the missions they deploy to space to ensure they proceed as expected.