Only five sample return missions have delivered extraterrestrial samples back to Earth. These include materials from the moon, Sun, a comet, and an asteroid. The analysis of these materials has yielded great insight in to the formation of the solar system. Sample return is based on the need for the best precision and accuracy in the analysis of these materials. In the last year, two missions have been actively exploring two asteroids and one of these, Hayabusa 2 is now on its way back to Earth to arrive in Woomera in December. This talk will look at the historic role of RSES in the analysis of extraterrestrial materials, as well as the prospects for obtaining new insight from the Hayabusa 2 mission.
JAXA Hayabusa 2 touches down and retreats from asteroid Ryugu with ejecta seen coming from the sampling site. This response gives us great confidence that Hayabusa 2 has indeed collected a sample of Ryugu. [JAXA photograph]