💡 Why sample return matters
Precision. Some space-bound experiments can’t be done very precisely. One example is determining the origin and age of a rock, which is important for piecing together timelines of what happened in the early solar system before life arose on Earth.
Reproducibility. Science is all about being able to reproduce your results. NASA and Japan’s space agency JAXA are sharing asteroid samples collected by the OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa2 missions, allowing researchers to analyze them with more than one science instrument in more than one laboratory.
Duration. When NASA returned samples from the Moon during the Apollo program, it knew technology would improve over time, so it stored some samples aside and even kept some sealed for future research with more advanced tools. The samples OSIRIS-REx brings to Earth will be available for future generations to study.