Francis McCubbin, Astromaterials Curator
Volume 3 No. 2 • September 2021
About the Astromaterials Newsletter:Welcome to the sixth issue of the Astromaterials Newsletter! The Astromaterials Newsletter is a bi-annual publication produced by the Astromaterials Acquisition and Curation Office at NASA Johnson Space Center to inform the sample science community about updates to our policies, collections, and available samples. In particular, the Astromaterials Newsletter will be our exclusive mechanism for announcing new samples or new sample opportunities available to the community across all of our collections, and we publish the Astromaterials Newsletter on the same cadence as the Antarctic Meteorite Newsletter.
The primary aim of the Astromaterials Newsletter is to maximize the science returns from our exiting collections through better communication and advertisement of sample availability to the scientific community. A big part of that improved communication is to provide updates to the sample analysis community about what is going on in our labs and at JSC that could impact the collections or the timing of sample allocations. Most importantly, the Astromaterials Newsletter was established to provide a fair and transparent process by which the community receives information about available samples across all our collections.
Impacts on Curation from COVID-19 PandemicThe Johnson Space Center remains a Stage 2 status in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Stage 2, telework is highly encouraged, and on-site work is limited to a maximum 25% on site capacity. Monitoring and maintaining the integrity of the Astromaterials samples is considered mission critical and has continued without pause, and sample allocations have started in Stage 2, albeit at a slower pace than our nominal operating conditions. We thank everyone for their continued patience as we work through pending allocations. I am pleased to report that we continue new sample requests from both our Lunar and Antarctic Meteorite collections this fall. The due dates for requests for each are listed in their respective newsletter sections. For the collections that accept rolling requests, we have continued to accept those sample requests, and as of October 2020, we resumed processing and allocating those samples where not prohibited by construction activities. We thank you all for your patience and understanding, and we hope that you and your families remain safe and healthy during these times.
Broad Updates for the Astromaterials Acquisition and Curation OfficeConstruction activities for the Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx curation labs have been completed, and only air balance, testing, and lab outfitting remain. Construction activities related to the upgrade of the ultra-pure water system that will service the new and existing curation labs has also reached completion with only minor issues related to in-line verification of water quality to work out. Finally, construction activities related to the upgrade of the air-handling system that supplies air to the Genesis labs, as well as to many of the non-clean-room curation labs (e.g., lunar and meteorite thin section, the X-ray Computed Tomography Lab, and the Imaging Raman Lab), has also reached completion.
Thank you for reading the Astromaterials News section of the Astromaterials Newsletter, and I wish you and your families a safe and healthy remainder of 2021 and beginning of 2022.