NASA Galileo spacecraft took this image of Earth moon on December 7, 1992 on its way to explore the Jupiter system in 1995-97. The distinct bright ray crater at the bottom of the image is the Tycho impact basin.
Scientist holds a lunar sample returned by the crew of Apollo 15
NASA Curiosity rover used the Mars Hand Lens Imager MAHLI to capture the set of thumbnail images stitched together to create this full-color self-portrait.


The mission of Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division, or ARES, is to combine scientific and engineering expertise in order to advance human space exploration, to integrate terrestrial and planetary research, and to promote successful space missions by mitigating risk. Our people are the world's leading sample scientists and we curate the most extensive collection of extraterrestrial materials on Earth.

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Inside world-class laboratories, scientists perform research on planetary materials and the space environment to investigate the origin and evolution of our Solar System, the universe, and the possibilities of how life might form on other planets.

Researchers participate in robotic planetary missions, support human spaceflight activities on board the International Space Station, and assist in the design of next-generation exploration spacecraft.

Scientists in the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center study samples retrieved by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Hayabusa2 spacecraft and returned to Earth in late 2020. JAXA shared a portion of the samples with NASA, and in exchange, NASA will provide JAXA a percentage of a sample of asteroid Bennu, when the agency’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft returns to Earth from the space rock in 2023. Photo Date: November 30, 2021. Location: Bldg. 31, H2 Clean Room. Photographer: Robert Markowitz