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 planned proposal mission to 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.
Nov. 12: OSIRIS-REx and the origin of life Astrobiology
Oct. 31: NASA’s OSIRIS-REx probe successfully stows space-rock sample Scientific American
Oct. 21: Seeking Solar System’s secrets, NASA’s OSIRIS-REX mission touches Bennu asteroid New York Times
Make your own comet with dry ice to learn about their chemistry and changing state of matter—complete with shooting jets!