Francis McCubbin, Astromaterials Curator
Volume 4 No. 1 • March 2022
About the Astromaterials Newsletter:Welcome to the seventh 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. However, there will not be an Antarctic Meteorite Newsletter that coincides with this particular issue of the Astromaterials Newsletter.
The primary aim of the Astromaterials Newsletter is to maximize the science returns from our existing 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. As always, details about all of NASA’s Astromaterials samples that are available for request can be found within each respective collection’s sample catalog, which are available on our website (https://curator.jsc.nasa.gov/). Any new samples announced in this issue will also appear within the appropriate sample catalog on our website.
Impacts on Curation from COVID-19 PandemicThe Johnson Space Center is at 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 50% 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, at this time, JSC plans to move to Stage 1 starting March 28, 2022. Under Stage 1, occupancy restrictions increase to 75%, and we will continue to transition toward nominal operations. We thank you all for your patience and understanding, and we hope that you and your families remain safe and healthy during these times.
Astromaterials Data Archiving Announcement from the Astromaterials Data RepositoryInvestigators who produce geochemical data from meteorites or other astromaterials samples are encouraged to utilize the Astromaterials Data Repository (AstroRepo) to openly share their data in compliance with Open Data policies of funding agencies and publishers. AstroRepo is a trusted repository service for researchers to publish and archive astromaterials sample data. Dataset files can be easily submitted via a web interface, and can be kept under moratorium for up to two years. AstroRepo links the datasets to related publications and NASA award numbers.
AstroRepo is part of the Astromaterials Data System, a data infrastructure that stores, curates, and provides access to laboratory data acquired on samples curated in the Astromaterials Collections of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Please feel free to contact AstroRepo at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Astromat data curators are available to help you with publishing your data and advise how you can 'rescue' personal or institutional legacy data sets that are in danger of being lost and ensure their long-term impact on scientific advances, making them accessible in a sustainable manner.
Upcoming Launch Alert: Astromaterials 3D Announces New Samples!Astromaterials 3D, the first virtual library of NASA's collections of Apollo Lunar and Antarctic Meteorite samples, is releasing 20 new lunar and meteorite samples to the public this month! This launch also includes the release of an exciting new feature, called NASA Pins, which allows the public to view pre-selected sample characteristics on each rock’s surface and within the XCT imagery, in order to share the incredible science these space rocks reveal. Each NASA Pin is curated by NASA Scientists and includes brief explanations about each pinned feature. This launch also includes the highly anticipated public release of the actual high-resolution OBJ files that the Astromaterials 3D team creates for each rock, easily and freely downloadable from every rock’s page. Originally launched to the public in December 2020, the Astromaterials 3D Website and Explorer Application continues to grow, offering a dynamic, interactive, and information-rich visualization tool for researchers and the general public. Keep your eye on the site for this exciting forthcoming release: https://ares.jsc.nasa.gov/astromaterials3d/.
Broad Updates for the Astromaterials Acquisition and Curation OfficeIn December 2021, NASA received 10% of the samples that JAXA returned from the asteroid Ryugu, which you can read more about HERE if you are interested. The samples are currently in the Hayabusa2 Curation Lab in Building 31 at JSC, and we are working on a sample catalog. We anticipate that NASA’s portion of the Hayabusa2 samples will be made available for request later this year. The Hayabusa2 samples will be made available through announcement in a forthcoming issue of the Astromaterials Newsletter.
In February 2022, we extracted gas from both the outer vacuum container (OVC) and the inner core sample vacuum container (CSVC) of Apollo sample 73001 as part of the Apollo Next Generation Sample Analysis Program, which you can read more about HERE if you are interested. In the coming weeks, the gas samples will undergo preliminary examination by the ANGSA Science Team. If the ANGSA Science Team determines there is a lunar component preserved in the gas, we will make the gas samples available to members currently outside the ANGSA Science Team in a special issue of the Astromaterials Newsletter that would come out prior to the Fall 2022 Issue. Details of the preliminary examination and gas availability would be provided in that special issue of the Astromaterials Newsletter, so stay tuned.
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 2022.