Sample return from small solar system bodies

Orgel, L, A'Hearn M, Bada J, Baross J, Chapman C, Drake M, Kerridge J, Race M, Sogin M, Squyres S.  2000.  Sample return from small solar system bodies. Advances in Space Research. 25:239-48.

Date Published:

01 01


With plans for multiple sample return missions in the next decade, NASA requested guidance from the National Research Council's Space Studies Board on how to treat samples returned from solar system bodies such as planetary satellites, asteroids and comets. A special task group assessed the potential for a living entity to be included in return samples from various bodies as well as the potential for large scale effects if such an entity were inadvertently introduced into the Earth's biosphere. The group also assessed differences among solar system bodies, identified investigations that could reduce uncertainty about the bodies, and considered risks of returned samples compared to the natural influx of material to the Earth in the form of interplanetary dust particles, meteorites and other small impactors. The final report (NRC, 1998) provides a decision making framework for future missions and makes recommendations on how to handle samples from different planetary satellites and primitive solar system bodies