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The Case for Non-Cryogenic Comet Nucleus Sample Return

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Thursday, October 1, 2020

Keiko Nakamura-Messenger, Alexander G. Hayes, Scott Sandford, Carol Raymond, Steven W. Squyres, Larry R. Nittler, Samuel Birch, Denis Bodewits, Nancy Chabot, Meenakshi Wadhwa, Mathieu Choukroun, Simon J. Clemett, Maitrayee Bose, Neil Dello Russo, Jason P. Dworkin, Jamie E. Elsila, Kenton Fisher, Perry Gerakines, Daniel P. Glavin, Julie Mitchell, Michael Mumma, Ann. N. Nguyen, Lisa Pace, Jason Soderblom, Jessica M. Sunshine

Comets hold answers to mysteries of the Solar System by recording presolar history, the initial states of planet formation and prebiotic organics and volatiles to the early Earth. Analysis of returned samples from a comet nucleus will provide unparalleled knowledge about the Solar System starting materials and how they came together to form planets and give rise to life:

1. How did comets form?

2. Is comet material primordial, or has it undergone a complex alteration history?

3. Does aqueous alteration occur in comets?

4. What is the composition of cometary organics?

5. Did comets supply a substantial fraction of Earth's volatiles?

6. Did cometary organics contribute to the homochirality in life on Earth?

7. How do complex organic molecules form and evolve in interstellar, nebular, and planetary environments?

8. What can comets tell us about the mixing of materials in the protosolar nebula?

Comments: White Paper submitted to the Planetary Science Decadal Survey 2023-2032 reflecting the viewpoints of three New Frontiers comet sample return missions proposal teams, CAESAR, CONDOR, and CORSAIR

Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)

Cite as: arXiv:2009.14366 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2009.14366v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)

Submission history

From: Keiko Nakamura-Messenger 

[v1] Wed, 30 Sep 2020 01:07:32 UTC (262 KB)

https://arxiv.org/abs/2009.14366

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