To Researchers, Space Samples Are Well Worth The Cost of Fetching

If a Japanese space capsule that recently returned to Earth is found to have collected particles from a billion-year-old space rock, it will join the short history of lucrative sample-return missions.
Retrieving samples from space is considered more complicated, potentially more costly, and riskier than conducting remote or robotic expeditions, but successful retrievals can confirm or disprove theories more accurately and can fuel or accelerate decades of scientific research.
As researchers and mission scientists await an analysis of what the plucky Hayabusa asteroid probe has brought back from space, they say previous sample-return missions have proven their usefulness. And, with improvements in technology and in methods of cleaning and sterilizing storage facilities, future missions to retrieve samples from Mars and beyond could provide even more valuable insights into the unknowns of our solar system.