Ep. 708: What Goes Into Sample Return Missions from Asteroids and Comets?

Last week we talked about sample return missions from the Moon and Mars, but scientists have retrieved samples from other objects in the Solar System, including comets and asteroids. What does it take to return a piece of rock from space, and what have we learned so far?


(This is an automatically generated transcript)

Fraser Cain [00:01:19] Astronomy Cast Episode 708. What goes into sample return missions from asteroids and comets? Welcome to Astronomy Cast, our weekly facts based journey through the cosmos. We help you understand not only what we know, but how we know what we know. I’m Fraser Cain. I’m the publisher of Universe Today. With me, as always, is Doctor Pamela Gay, a senior scientist for the Planetary Science Institute and the director of Cosmo Quest. Hey, Pam. How are you doing? 

Pamela Gay [00:01:44] I am doing well. I know that many people enjoyed Super Bowl Sunday. Yesterday I am here to say I enjoyed Superb Owl Sunday. There were some science communicators that realized that Super Bowl and Superb Owl is a hashtag have the exact same letters. I took it over and there are owls and and I just want to say thank you to whatever human started that several years ago and has kept it going. 

Fraser Cain [00:02:16] I think that Stephen Colbert. 

Pamela Gay [00:02:18] Really? 

Fraser Cain [00:02:19] Yeah, I think so, if I recall correctly. 

Pamela Gay [00:02:22] Yeah. Because it’s getting used by science communicators to communicate science about owls. 

Fraser Cain [00:02:28] Yep, I think so. I if I recall that correctly. 

Pamela Gay [00:02:33] The world needs more ninja science. 

Fraser Cain [00:02:36] So I was having a chat with one of my patrons, today, and they were I was, you know, asking sort of like the content that we create and ask them how I can make things better with what I do for Universe Today. Like, I really wish there was more like topic focused, more educational content where you focus on like one topic and sort of explained it. And I’m like, have you ever heard of Astronomy Cast? There’s this thing that I should say to a PhD astronomer where we pick a topic every week and, and I like and it’s so funny because then I, you know, I’m sure you get this as well. You talk to people who are know us through astronomy Cast and like, I wish you guys did more on news. Yeah, just like both of us. All we do is we do an enormous amount of news. You do it all in daily space. You know, you doing over on with Cosmic Course. I do everything with Universe Today. News, news, news is news. And I don’t know how we get across to people that we have players, that there’s more facets to what we do. 

Pamela Gay [00:03:44] Yes. 

Fraser Cain [00:03:45] All I want to get across is that if you’re listening to Astronomy Cast, that you are you are experiencing the tip of the content iceberg when it comes to the work that Pamela and I do across both of our media empires. For for Pamela, it is like practical science done with Cosmic Quest. All of the work you’re doing on Twitch, all of the other stuff that you do for me, Universe Today, the videos that I make, the news that we do on Universe Today, it’s a huge media organization. Yeah. And Astronomy Cast is just like our hobby compared to the smallest fraction of what we do. And so I think there’s too much to talk about. But I encourage you, if you are, if you’re enjoying what you’re hearing with Astronomy Cast, this is just the the like I said, the tip of the iceberg. 

Pamela Gay [00:04:33] That’s it. So go to Universe today.com and Cosmic quest.org. 

Fraser Cain [00:04:38] Perfect. All right. Last week we talked about sample return missions from the moon and Mars. But scientists have returned samples from other objects in the solar system, including comets and asteroids. What does it take to return a piece of rock or dust from space? And what have we learned so far? All right. So what missions have been sent to try to retrieve samples from things in space that aren’t to the moon and Mars? 

Pamela Gay [00:05:08] So we have the Genesis mission that returned particles from the sun. We have the Stardust mission. The returned particles from a comet. We have high booster one and two that returned very different amounts of asteroid. And then, we, of course, have OSIRIS-REx, and I think I caught everything, but everything that’s in that. Yep. Yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:05:34] We can talk about the stuff that’s in the works. And I know you’re just going to have to put your fingers in years and lalala, I’m not listening. But I will explain the interesting sample return missions that are in the works and whether or not they will succeed or not. All right, well, let’s talk about Genesis first. Genesis was a mission that sort of flew under the radar. What was that? 

Pamela Gay [00:05:55] So it’s it was one of the old school missions that, a lot of people just didn’t really realize was happening. It started in 1997 with feasibility studies. It, launched back in 2001. It flew in this week. Loop de loop orbit, and it went beyond the Earth-Moon environment to collect samples of particles from the sun that hadn’t been affected by our environment in the magnetic fields and everything else in the Earth-Moon system. 

Fraser Cain [00:06:34] What kind of particles can you expect from the sun? 

Pamela Gay [00:06:37] Well, this is kind of what they were looking to figure out. So we we know that there is, electrons, clearly cosmic rays, which are heavier atoms. And so what they were looking at is, is on this array of various semiconductor grade wafers, they were looking to see how these high energy particles, whatever they happen to be made of, interacted with each of these different systems. The different materials were designed to basically capture what’s the mass, what’s the mass, what is the energy, and allow us to understand what’s going on out there. 

Fraser Cain [00:07:24] And when we think about the solar wind, I mean, before Genesis, you would try to measure the solar wind in situ, you’d fly in space and you, you detect the kinds of particles that were around you and, you know, and you’re like, you’re getting ions, you’re getting hydrogen ions mostly almost entirely. And then you’re getting a few ions of other kinds of particles as well. But we’d be able to. Sure. But I mean, electrons are a very difficult particle to capture compared to a, you know, a hydrogen ion or some other particle that you’re getting. Yeah. But then to be able to bring them back, as you said, you’re detecting the energy, you’re taking the mass, you’re getting a sense of, of just like the abundance of these different kinds of particles. And you can, can bring them back and study them in the lab with incredible precision. Right now, retrieving these samples didn’t go exactly according to plan, did it? 

Pamela Gay [00:08:23] No. They’re there may have been a bit of litho breaking involved. That’s. 

Fraser Cain [00:08:29] My favorite term. Like the Reiki where you crash. 

Pamela Gay [00:08:31] Yeah. Yeah, I love that term. The the the capsule. Like I said, this, this was kind of the OG sample return. They were learning a lot of things. Parachutes are hard. And and so they made a very tiny crater. And, and they did everything they could actually quite local to me. So sample extraction took place at the University of Washington, which is in Saint Louis. So, it’s named after the president, just like the state is and has nothing to do with the state. So the samples were extracted at Washington University. Some of the hexagonal wafers that were used to collect the samples, broke, you might say, crumbled. And they had a bad day, like thrown luggage, except thrown from orbit. But some of the wafers did survive. And all of this is now at the Johnson Space Center Curation Center that we talked about a lot in the last episode. It’s the same place that the asteroid samples are kept, that the lunar samples are kept. And within these samples, they were able to tease out noble gases, oxygen isotopes, nitrogen isotopes and start to get a sense of some of the other stuff that’s coming from the sun. 

Fraser Cain [00:09:52] Yeah. The original plan was that it was going to pop its parachute when it hit the atmosphere, and then they were going to grab it with helicopter and gently take it to a facility, parachute and deploy. It only slowed down due to air resistance of the atmosphere and then just crashed into the desert. And like fortunately, it was soft and it’s amazing how little science they actually lost. I guess learning that you don’t need parachutes for this kind of thing. 

Pamela Gay [00:10:20] But parachutes are preferred. 

Fraser Cain [00:10:22] They are preferred. They are from they’re not entirely necessary when you’re just dealing with robotic spacecraft. So. Yeah. Yeah. That’s a that’s an amazing thing. All right. So let’s let’s move on to Stardust, which was the first samples of a comet. 

Pamela Gay [00:10:39] Yes. So here is where we were introduced to a fabulous substance called aerogel. This this is something that I swear every meeting from, like, grad school onwards that I attended, there was someone with a block of this stuff going, this, this is what we’re using. 

Fraser Cain [00:11:00] So have you felt it? Have you felt aerogel. You have. What does it feel like. 

Pamela Gay [00:11:06] It it’s sort of like someone took bubbles from a bubble bath and solidified them somehow. So it has. Is that same density as bubbles from bubble bath? Yeah. You can poke it like styrofoam. 

Fraser Cain [00:11:20] So does it like it? But it breaks easily. 

Pamela Gay [00:11:25] It breaks fairly easily. Yeah. The idea is that dust grains from the comet hit it and are slowly slowed down, but slow down fast enough. So you want to slow them down slow enough that you don’t destroy them because. Right. If you slow things down, too fast, that’s how you break them. But it needed to slow them down before the particles got to the other side of the aerogel. Right. 

Fraser Cain [00:11:54] Yeah. 

Pamela Gay [00:11:54] And and so it’s it’s low enough density and breaks easily enough that the dust grains going through it gets slowed down and held on to and are undamaged in the process. 

Fraser Cain [00:12:09] That’s amazing. So what was the plan with with the Stardust mission? 

Pamela Gay [00:12:15] I go out, fly through the the tail of a comet and come home with the sample and drop it on the planet. As one wants to, and then this this is actually one of the first big, fully online citizen science projects came out of this particular mission. So Stardust won out. It collected dust from comet ville to tail. It looks like the word wild is actually built. And then they they took images scanning through the aerogel at a variety of different focal lengths, so they were able to see different depths in focus in the images. And so citizen scientists would sit online scanning through these stacks, looking for the trails, through the aerogel that pointed to where the dust grains are. 

Fraser Cain [00:13:16] And like those pictures, if you get a chance, like, look up the pictures from Stardust because they look like someone dropped rocks into water. And you get these sort of like the bubbles that you would see as the rock is, is plunging down into the water. And then it’s just like someone to freeze frame of. It’s stopped in the aerogel at different depths. 

Pamela Gay [00:13:38] Yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:13:38] It’s so cool. 

Pamela Gay [00:13:40] And and it was a hard project, like I failed to pass the tutorial. It turns out I do not have the visual acuity to notice necessarily in field of gray. Yeah. Yeah, I, I failed I failed at a whole lot of successful ness. 

Fraser Cain [00:14:03] And that’s why you now you organize teams of people to look for this stuff. 

Pamela Gay [00:14:07] And I do better training. Well, no, they had excellent training materials. My eyeballs just failed. Yeah. But understanding that you’re not always going to succeed, that there are going to be humans that are better at some tasks and worse than others. And most of all, learning that the public is willing to help. This this team had a huge project going through. All of those sequences of images at different focal lengths was going to take longer than they necessarily wanted to wait to find all of those dust grains. So the public was needed. 

Fraser Cain [00:14:48] And so what did we learn about sampling a comet like this? 

Pamela Gay [00:14:52] Use citizen scientists is is the most important thing in my brain, I have to admit. 

Fraser Cain [00:14:59] Okay, so I mean, I can answer this then. So I mean, well, one of the big questions that astronomers had was, was where do these comets form? How do they migrate around the solar system? Do they form? Did they form close up to the sun and then migrate farther out into the solar system? And what they found was that that in Kuiper Belt objects anyway. I mean, we’re not talking about stuff out in the Oort cloud, but in carpet built objects, they probably formed closer into the sun in higher temperature regions and then migrated outward as the sun settled down, as the planets started to form, as things got kicked out into this region outside the giant planet. And so there they really are, this archeological history of the formation of the solar system. And, and although we don’t have any, like proper samples of a comet where someone actually goes and digs a hole in the sample, takes a core sample, brings it home. You’re getting these really interesting insights into it. And yeah, this will kind of stretch into our next conversation about the asteroid ones because because I think the thing the theme that has has. Have been in Astronomy Cast. We’ve been talking about this. Yeah. Is that asteroids are more comet like than we ever thought. 

Pamela Gay [00:16:19] Yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:16:19] This comets are more asteroid like than we ever thought. And so, in fact. The lessons learned from sampling asteroids. Have a lot to tell us about the inner solar system, the the early solar system, as well as as what we learn from from comets. All right, let’s move into the regime of asteroid sample return missions. Who who tried this crazy thing first? 

Pamela Gay [00:16:42] Japan with Hayabusa at Itokawa. 

Fraser Cain [00:16:45] Yeah. 

Pamela Gay [00:16:46] Itokawa is a, cashew shaped asteroid that has fairly smooth areas, fairly rocky areas. It’s got a little bit of everything if you’re looking for geology. And the goal was to bring back several grams of material from the surface. Sample collection. Did not entirely go as one might wish. 

Fraser Cain [00:17:13] Yeah. 

Pamela Gay [00:17:15] By which I mean the the, mission brought back less than a single gram. If you’ve ever cooked, you realize one gram of flour is like, it’s what you kind of tap off your spoon. Yeah, it’s a very small amount of material. So the, the sample getting. Hey, hey. Hey, Russo. Just didn’t want to get his hands dirty. 

Fraser Cain [00:17:46] Well, right. I mean. I mean, the thing that’s that’s interesting about this was that really their entire method of sampling? I mean, they delivered a mini rover. They tried to deliver a mini Rover Minerva. That’s the Minerva that failed. Yeah. And then they tried to deploy their sample collection, system, and that failed. And they. I’m trying to, like, imagine you have a sample return capsule that you’re attempting to use on your car, and but you did accidentally swipe your car against the the rock that you’re trying to sample, and then you bring that the car home and you’re like, wait a minute, there’s some. So they were able to recover some, as you said, a tiny, tiny fraction. But like when you learn about like, maybe this is a story on its own, or maybe I’ll have to interview somebody from behind the Hayabusa mission because that that first Hayabusa mission, it was just failure after failure, problem after problem with thrusters and with electrical systems and with the sample collection and the mini lander and all of this stuff. And yet they got it home and they got the samples back down to earth. And it is just one of the most incredible stories of recovery when just everything was going wrong and sort of always I feel like. I have so much respect for the Japanese space agency at how clever and innovative they are when they approach these kinds of problems. 

Pamela Gay [00:19:16] One of the things I love about how they do missions is we we are used to it either succeeded or it’s failed completely, and they actually grade their missions on a point system like a prof. And, and so this this was very, apparent with their recent, attempt, to, to land on the moon. It didn’t entirely succeed, but they got points. And the criteria that they used to judge the success of Hayabusa was what was the ultimate result. So were they able to operate their ion engines? Yes. Were they able to operate them for more than 1000 hours? Yes. Did it go smoothly? No. But that wasn’t part of the grading system. It’s it’s like when you’re doing the homework, it might accidentally take you nine hours to complete a problem. That should have taken five minutes. But you got there eventually. 

Fraser Cain [00:20:12] But they did science. They were able to recover a they described as 1500 grains of material, as you said, that fraction of a gram. Yeah. I don’t like how big a grain is. These things are microscopic. And yet they were able in the lab here on Earth. They were able to determine that they are similar in composition to meteorites that have been found on Earth. They were able to measure the kinds of constituents. They were able to determine that this, that this asteroid was once part of a larger asteroid. And I think this goes to that idea. You know, people always say like, oh, let’s send a spacecraft to Mars, because we will like, why try to bring these samples back home for $10 billion when you could just send a spacecraft and study there? Because the things that human beings can do in the lab here on Earth just dwarfs whatever we could send to another world. There is real value in sample return missions. All right, let’s move on to, you know, Hayabusa2, the the recapturing. 

Pamela Gay [00:21:16] So, so Hayabusa two, I, I love this mission because Japan took everything except for the kitchen sink and dropped it on Rio goo. And this includes what isn’t officially called an anti-tank weapon, but was an anti-tank weapon. They dropped fliers that flitted and bounced and everything else. And then they managed to grab, this time, a much larger sample. They were outdone by. 

Fraser Cain [00:21:56] Some other missionaries were about to get too short. 

Pamela Gay [00:21:58] Yes, yes. 

Fraser Cain [00:21:59] Yeah, yeah. 

Pamela Gay [00:22:00] But but Hayabusa two they they went through all all of these dropping, flipping flying bombing. And then they grabbed a sample in what basically looks like a shop vac hose for lack of a better term. They’re sample horn and again brought it back to Earth. And it’s how we’ve been learning that this object has water, that it has carbon, that it apparently has a bit of Vesta in it, probably this this is a asteroid that has seen things and experienced things and got crunched up a lot. And, it’s just. I don’t know. It brings me joy. 

Fraser Cain [00:22:54] So I think some of the things that I find most interesting with this is how many amino acids they’ve been finding in the sample. So there’s been a ton of papers that have been coming out from the Hayabusa2 science team, like almost immediately. And you got this sort of rough. Here’s what it’s made of. Here’s what was probably a part of. But they’ve been there’s been paper after paper talking about all of this precursor element or molecules for life. Most of the amino acids that that are in the human body, you know, there’s like the 20. Yeah, basic amino acids. Most of those have been found in samples of Ryugu as well as dozens. I think they’re like closing in on a hundred different amino acids have been found in these various samples. And so it just shows you that that maybe one of the real explanations for why life was able to form so quickly on Earth is just that the. 

Pamela Gay [00:23:47] The building blocks for building. 

Fraser Cain [00:23:49] Blocks from right there, that that space wants to make the building blocks life as quickly as it can. As soon as you have these, these elements coming together in, in a radiative environment with various, you know, the ability to make larger and larger molecules. Chemistry just gets at it. And so, it’s been it’s been amazing. And I think that that idea that asteroids are more comet like that, that there’s more volatile. So there’s more stuff under the surface of these asteroids. I mean, thanks to that anti-tank weapon, we really got a chance to see what’s below the crust of the asteroid. And it’s a much more complex rubble pile than I think anybody had had expected. All right. Oh, well, let’s talk about the one that we watched the rocket launch Cybertruck’s. 

Pamela Gay [00:24:38] We did. We were actually together sitting at the side of the road next to a body of water, watching it happen off in the distance on the causeway. So this is the OSIRIS-REx mission, and it went over and above. So Hayabusa brought back less than one gram. Hayabusa2 brought back 5.5g. If Cyrus Rex wanted to bring back 60g, that was the goal. The access covering the lid to the sample container was 73g. 

Fraser Cain [00:25:13] Yeah. 

Pamela Gay [00:25:14] So their excess material weighed more than what they were hoping for for their entire sample. Unfortunately, the asteroid tried to eat the mission, so we’re very grateful that we were able to get that back. OSIRIS-REx was was. Emission that led to the most delightful memes. So Hayabusa2 got to Ryugu shortly before, OSIRIS-REx got to Bennu. Ryugu and Bennu look very similar. They’re they’re kind of like, ten sided, die vaguely shaped asteroids. And, Ryugu is a bit bigger, but they’re both rubble piles. And one of the first jokes was, the OSIRIS-REx mission was able to see a small pebble is probably an exaggeration, but overly large sized dust grains getting flung away from the surface of Bennu. And so the first joke was that Bennu was throwing rocks at OSIRIS-REx to warn it off after seeing what happened. Rear view. 

Fraser Cain [00:26:29] Yeah. 

Pamela Gay [00:26:30] The mission then orbited and orbited and orbited and tortured, a lot of citizen scientists I may have been working with, with. Right. How many rocks and boulders and lack of clearly cut craters covered its surface. And when the mission finally found a place, they had to, like, completely change the mission, safety parameters, because the goal was to find something that was. A large like not quite basketball court size, but of that order. Clear space for the mission to go down, grab a sample and bring the sample back up. And they had to reduce the size they were looking for to about four parking spaces. Because there was nowhere smooth on the surface of that asteroid. Itokawa had nice, dusty areas that were perfectly free of debris, and we thought Bennu would have some of those now. No it didn’t. And, like Hayabusa, it had basically a vacuum cleaner arm. It’s tag instrument that was used to go down and the plan was touch the surface, rolled the system, to get dirt out, fire some nitrogen gas, blast away from the surface, and, all would be well with the universe, and we would get 60g or so. Hopefully. The reality is, it touched the surface and kept going for it. 

Fraser Cain [00:28:07] Buried its nose in the in the asteroid. 

Pamela Gay [00:28:10] Yeah. Is the consistency of a ball pit. And it went down about 30cm before it fired those nitrogen, the nitrogen gas and spit itself away from the object. And, the sample collection arm had the sample collection capsule rather had so much stuff hanging out, flying out, flying away. They had trouble closing the capsule. It got it all sorted. There was some gymnastics involved. They were able to weigh how much sample they had by looking at the change in, the moment of inertia of the spacecraft. And then they brought it back to Earth. They I, I haven’t mentioned this earlier. I’m going to mention it now because it has to be acknowledged. What all of these teams have succeeded in doing is throwing something at the Earth. Yeah, from a distance, knowing where on the earth it would hit with the earth rotating and having an atmosphere to deal with. And they were able to to fling us as OSIRIS-REx traveled past the Earth as, as Stardust flew past the Earth, both missions going on to future missions. They’re capsules and they hit with the OSIRIS-REx sample collection capsule. Utah. The parachute did go off, not as they’d hoped, but it did go off. Everything was collected safe and sound. They scooped up the capsule, took it straight down to Johnson, where the lid refused to come off. 

Fraser Cain [00:29:52] Yes. Yeah, yeah. And that part of the story is so amazing that that, you know, when you would be had all of the tools in the, in the container, like they put it into this hermetically sealed container, then they were going to open it up and start to, to deal with all the samples because you don’t want to let any get any contamination in there. Right. And none of the tools that they had in the chamber would let them open up the lid that a couple of the of the bolts had. 

Pamela Gay [00:30:15] There were 12 nerves. 

Fraser Cain [00:30:17] Yeah. Had coal welded in space. And so they had to design a new tool made of high grade stainless steel, 3D, you know, print it or however they built it. And then they had to, you know, sterilize it, get it into the box. Then they could open up and get access to the samples. So how much do they find? 

Pamela Gay [00:30:36] I so so here they were looking at over 270 grand. Wow. And and so everyone is stupidly happy with this because they were able to before they even got the sample capsule open, send off some of the excess material to be showcased at the Smithsonian Museum there. There is material for putting in museums. Yeah. The samples getting divvied up among the different partners. Japan is a partner. We did a materials swap with them for. We have material from Ryukyu. Yeah, Canada has some of the sample. It’s it’s an international mission. And the rocks are going to be shipped around the world over time. By rocks, I mean grains of sand and dust. 

Fraser Cain [00:31:24] But and right now, we’re just it’s just too early. Like, we don’t have the science yet. Like, the capsule container was only opened within the last month of when we’re. 

Pamela Gay [00:31:33] Recording it, January 10th. It’s now February 12th. 

Fraser Cain [00:31:37] So I mean, there’s a there’s a breaking story we’re just working on right now, today that appears that the samples were in the part of a world that might have been water. Have water. 

Pamela Gay [00:31:50] Yes. Yeah. So that. 

Fraser Cain [00:31:52] Is crazy. 

Pamela Gay [00:31:54] One of the, the we’re at the wild. Stage of how this happens. 

Fraser Cain [00:32:01] Yeah, yeah yeah. 

Pamela Gay [00:32:01] And my favorite wild guess so far is the OSIRIS-REx flew all the way to another world just to discover a pocket of stuff that was thrown into space, either during the the dinosaur killing, you know, or something else. And I don’t think we’ll ever be able to isolate it that fine tuned, but, I mean, this could be a part of our world, for all we know. 

Fraser Cain [00:32:32] Yeah. 

Pamela Gay [00:32:33] It’s wild. It’s. 

Fraser Cain [00:32:34] Yeah. And so it’s I mean, we will, like, once the science is in, we’ll do another episode just talking about the science of. Well, it’ll be a whole episode all on its own. Yeah. 

Pamela Gay [00:32:42] We’re at wild speculation stage right now. I just want to reiterate wild speculation stage. 

Fraser Cain [00:32:47] So here’s the part where you have to put your fingers in your ears, and you’re not going to listen to this camera where I’m going to talk about, you know, Pamela doesn’t like to think about spacecraft that don’t exist yet. She only wants to talk about things that have already happened. So, the Chinese are planning a mission in 2025. They’re going to do a sample return mission from an asteroid. The Japanese have their upcoming mission to Phobos, which is launches in 2026, and that it’s going to be retrieving samples to Earth in 2031. And then there’s, like, one mission that was planned. We got the Titan Dragonfly mission. But when they chose the Titan Dragonfly, there was one other mission that was in the running for that, and that was going to be a sample return mission, probably from Rosetta. So that would be the same, like £0.67, the same comet that the Rosetta mission went to. And it would try to retrieve a sample and bring it back home. And it didn’t make it. It was the it was the Titan Dragon. And who can blame. Yeah, the the the, you know, the folks that decided on which one they want. But a proper cometary sample return mission is now one big missing piece of our sample return. We’ve got cometary tail, but we need, like, core samples and things like that brought back from from another. 

Pamela Gay [00:34:07] And we’re not going to be getting a true core sample because like we that’s a whole lot of mass. We just want. 

Fraser Cain [00:34:13] Something tiny. 

Pamela Gay [00:34:15] Or sample. 

Fraser Cain [00:34:16] The equivalent of OSIRIS-REx. But but gone to a comet as opposed to an asteroid. Yeah, yeah. All right. We this is a long show, but thank you very much. 

Pamela Gay [00:34:25] And thank you, Fraser, and thank you to all of the patrons out there who make this show possible. Without you, Rich wouldn’t be able to rescue the mistakes I make, wouldn’t be able to put together everything else. Beth wouldn’t be able to promote it. You are providing jobs, and JPL just had massive layoffs. Yes. So we’re grateful that you allow us to pay our science communicators. So this week I want to thank Bebop Apocalypse. I love that name, by the way. Jimmy Berrigan and ninja Nick, Jean Baptiste Lamantia, emissary nine Noah Albertson, Cody Ross, Gordon young Boogie net or boogie? I’m not sure which Stephen White did not wank boy Andrew levels, G. Kemmler, Andrew. Plasterer, Brian. Cagle, David. Trog, Edd. David, Gerald Schweitzer, buzz. Parsec, zero. Chill, Laura. Kelson, Robert. Plasma, Joel. Stein, Richard. Drum, les. Howard, Gordon. Davis, Adam. Annis, Brown, Alexis. Felix. Good and assets and Kim Barron. And if you two would like me to probably mispronounce your name. I’m so sorry, everyone. Please join our Patreon at. I believe it’s for $10 or higher level. Thank you so much. 

Fraser Cain [00:35:47] And we’ll see you next week. 

Pamela Gay [00:35:50] Bye bye. Astronomy Cast is a joint product of the Universe Today and the Planetary Science Institute. Astronomy cast is released under a Creative Commons Attribution license. So love it, share it, and remix it, but please credit it to our hosts, Fraser Cain and Doctor Pamela Gay. You can get more information on today’s show topic on our website. Astronomy. Cars.com. This episode was brought to you. Thanks to our generous patrons on Patreon. If you want to help keep the show going, please consider joining our community at Patreon.com Slash Astronomy Cast. Not only do you help us pay our producers a fair wage, you will also get special access to content right in your inbox and invites to online events. We are so grateful to all of you who have joined our Patreon community already. Anyways, keep looking up. This has been Astronomy Cast. 

Show Notes


Genesis: Search for Origins (JPL, NASA)

Stardust – NASA’s Comet Sample Return Mission (JPL, NASA)

Hayabusa Project Science Data Archive (JAXA)

Hayabusa2 Project (JAXA)

China to launch Tianwen-2 mission to explore asteroid (China National Space Administration)