Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


How space missions snatch pieces of other worlds and bring them back to Earth

Asteroid Bennu with particle plumes

Bennu is one of three asteroids that have been the target of sample-return missions. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission will collect material from Bennu. Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin/Science Photo Library

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Nature 584, 16-17 (2020)



  1. Nakamura, T. et al. Science 333, 1113-1116 (2011).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Westphal, A. J. et al. Science 345, 786-791 (2014).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. McKeegan, K. D. et al. Science 332, 1528-1532 (2011).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Hyodo, R., Kurosawa, K., Genda, H., Usui, T. & Fujita, K. Sci. Rep. 9, 19833 (2019).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


Latest on:

Nature Careers


Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing


Quick links