Unraveling the mystery of how star stuff became us
“We’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”
– Carl Sagan
Comet Astrobiology Exploration SAmple Return
CAESAR is a candidate for selection as the fourth mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. It would be the farthest-reaching sample return mission in history.
The spacecraft would spend its first four and a half years in space chasing down Comet 67P with one goal in mind: collect a sample from the comet’s surface and return it to Earth in pristine condition for the most extensive study of cometary material ever done.
What is star stuff?
Nearly everything you see around you began deep inside a star.
What makes comets special?
Comets are like time capsules, preserving the molecules from the beginning of our solar system and holding evidence of the origins of life.
Why bring a sample back to Earth?
Scientists can learn much more with the instruments on Earth than the ones that can fit on a spacecraft.
Sept. 11: Landslides In Space May Be Key To Long-Term Comet Activity Forbes
Aug. 23: The wonderful and turbulent world of comets, as seen by Swiss Scientists SWI swissinfo.ch
July 27: The Mission to Sample a Comet Going 84,000 Miles Per Hour—and Return Bloomberg
July 11: Steve Squyres to Speak on Proposed NASA Mission Cornell Chronicle
June 24: Rosetta Spacecraft Image Archive Complete EarthSky
June 19: Proposed CAESAR mission could return a sample from comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko Spaceflight Insider
May 14: How Small Bodies Are Playing a Big Role in Planetary Science Astrobiology Magazine
Feb. 18: Inspired by ESA’s Rosetta, NASA Wants Comet 67P Sample Return Forbes
Jan. 22: How Comet Dust Has Enabled Us to Trace the History of the Solar System The Conversation
Dec. 20, 2017: CAESAR has been selected as one of two finalists for NASA’s New Frontiers Program:
Make your own comet with dry ice to learn about their chemistry and changing state of matter—complete with shooting jets!