Comet Astrobiology Exploration SAmple Return, or CAESAR, is one of two New Frontier finalists selected. NASA announced the two finalist selections on Dec. 20, and these projects will receive funding for additional studies through 2018. One will then be picked in the spring of 2019 for full development and launch in 2025. Newton provided engineering support for CAESAR’s proposal.

CAESAR would visit the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and collect a sample from its nucleus and send it back to Earth, which would be the first sample return mission of its kind.

This project is led by Steve Squyres of Cornell University, the principal investigator of NASA’s Opportunity rover, which has been studying Mars since 2004.

Comet Astrobiology Exploration SAmple Return (NASA)

Click here to read more about the New Frontiers Program.