vulture4":be9htxig said:AS to sample return, it;s simply impossible to learn more today from looking at one sample with a hundred instruments than from looking at a hundred samples with one instrument. The continuing miniaturization of analytical systems makes it almost always a better choice to send more instruments than to bring back samples.
Earth based studies will always give better results than those on probes. There are many reasons. There are more and better instruments available, better sample preparation, the ability to vary procedures, the fact that samples can be curated and analysed decades later using technologies not even dreamed of when a probe is sent. This is why sample return always ends up as the highest scientific priority when strategic reviews are done.