CAESAR (Comet Astrobiology Exploration SAmple Return) is a candidate for selection as the fourth mission in NASA's New Frontiers Program. If selected in 2019, it would be the farthest-reaching sample return mission in history. The spacecraft would visit again Comet 67P, 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.
By targeting Comet 67P, which has already been thoroughly studied by the Rosetta spacecraft, CAESAR can minimize cost and risk. Our extensive knowledge of the comet’s surface is allowing engineers to design hardware well suited for conditions there. Rosetta and its Philae lander have already done all the necessary science at the comet, allowing CAESAR's emphasis to be on sample collection. The spacecraft need only carry cameras, a sampling device, and a containment system. Many of CAESAR's instruments and hardware have already been used and proven on previous and current missions. The containment system is designed to return both refractory and volatile components of the cometary material.
Jean-Baptiste Vincent (DLR-PF, AKO department) is a Co-Investigator on the mission proposal, working on activity and evolution of the comet surface, as well as sampling site selection. He will become deputy-PI of the Camera Suite after launch.
More information at: http://caesar.cornell.edu/