Carnegie Science Earth and Planets Laboratory to Host Talk on New Era of Sample Return Missions

Blast off with another Neighborhood Lecture! Join us as cosmochemist Dr. Conel Alexander presents "A new golden age for sample return missions."
Rocket Launch — Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

The Carnegie Science Earth and Planets Laboratory is excited to announce its upcoming talk as part of the Neighborhood Lecture Series with cosmochemist Dr. Conel Alexander. The talk, entitled "A new golden age for sample return missions," will take place on April 27, 2023, and will highlight the latest developments in space exploration.

As a cosmochemist and expert in studying the compositions of asteroids, comets, and meteorites, Dr. Alexander will share insights into the secrets of our Solar System's origins. His work in this field has helped answer some of the most significant questions about life on Earth, such as "How did Earth get its water?" and "Where did organic molecules originate?"

During the talk, attendees will get firsthand updates on recent sample return missions from space and learn how they are enabling a new era of discovery. Dr. Alexander will discuss NASA's Osiris Rex mission, set to bring back samples from the asteroid Bennu in 2023, and the successful Hayabusa II mission from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, which already returned samples from the asteroid Ryugu.

Flyer for Neighborhood Lecture Series

In addition to discussing the latest developments in sample return missions, attendees will also learn about the exciting research taking place at the Earth and Planets Laboratory. In particular, researchers at EPL are already studying the samples returned by the Hayabusa II mission from the asteroid Ryugu, which provide invaluable insights into the composition and history of our Solar System. Through advanced laboratory techniques, including microanalytical methods and high-resolution imaging, EPL scientists are gaining new understanding about the processes that shaped our planet and others in the Solar System.

"We are thrilled to have Dr. Alexander, a world leader in cosmochemistry and a member of our team here at the Earth and Planets Laboratory, share his insights with the community,” said Dr. Michael Walter, Director of the Carnegie Science Earth and Planets Laboratory. “Dr. Alexander's firsthand knowledge of the Osiris Rex mission, which is set to bring back samples from Bennu later this year, makes this talk an especially timely and exciting event for anyone interested in the secrets of our Solar System.”

The talk will take place in the Greenewalt Auditorium at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Broad Branch Road campus located at 5241 Broad Branch Road, NW, Washington, DC 20015, and will begin at 6:30 pm. There will be light refreshments beforehand starting at 6:00 pm. Admission is free, but registration is required due to limited seating.

For more information and to register for the event, please visit our website

Contact: Alycia Alexander, Events Coordinator, Earth and Planets Laboratory


Phone: 202-478-8902


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