In 2010, President Obama called for a new approach to space exploration, which would include human and robotic exploration of asteroids. The first step in this program would be Asteroid Retrieval Mission (ARM) currently under study at NASA. Characterization of these objects would require novel approaches akin to what is here proposed. In the latest Decadal Survey, the committee recommended selecting a Comet Surface Sample Return mission as one of the NF4 missions.
Sampling of contaminated soils and liquid from hazardous environments (nuclear reactors, chemical spills etc.). Geologists could use it to capture samples from hard to reach areas, such as for example lava-tubes in Hawaii. Cameras and sensors could map the area and give the geological context. Commercial companies such as Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries, who are interested in asteroid mining for economic gains, could also use this technology.