Sample Requests for Research

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Sample Requests for Research

NASA provides lunar rock, soil, and regolith-core samples for both destructive and non-destructive analysis in pursuit of new scientific knowledge. Requests are considered for both basic studies in planetary science and applied studies in lunar materials beneficiation and resource utilization.

  1. The sample investigator demonstrates favorable scientific peer review of the proposed work involving lunar samples.
    • The required peer review can be demonstrated in either of two ways:
      1. A formal research proposal recommended by NASA's Lunar and Planetary Geosciences Review Panel (LPGRP), or an equivalent scientific peer-review panel, within the past three years;
      2. Submittal of reprints of scientific articles, as published in peer-reviewed professional journals that directly pertain to the specific sample request.
  2. The investigator submits a written request specifying the numbers, types, and quantities of lunar samples needed, as well as the planned use of the samples. See Checklist for more information.
    • For planetary science studies, the sample request should be submitted directly to the Lunar Sample Curator at the following address:
      • Ryan Zeigler
      • Apollo Sample Curator
      • Mail Code XI2
      • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
      • Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
      • 2101 NASA Parkway
      • Houston, Texas 77058-3696
      • U.S.A.
    • Investigators proposing the application of new analytical methodologies (not previously applied to lunar samples) also should submit test data obtained for simulated lunar materials. New investigators who are not familiar with lunar materials should consult Lunar Sourcebook: A User's Guide to the Moon (G. Heiken, D. Vaniman, and B. M. French, Eds.; Cambridge University Press, 736 pp.; 1991; ISBN 0-521-33444-6) as the best available reference on the chemical and physical properties of lunar materials.
  3. The Lunar Sample Curator will research the availability of the requested samples and decide whether a unilateral action can be taken or an outside scientific review is required.
    • Outside review is prescribed for all new investigators and for most established investigators except where returned (previously used) samples are being requested. For outside review, the Curator forwards the original request, with background information, to the Curation and Analysis Planning Team for Extraterrestrial Materials (CAPTEM), a standing committee of scientists who advise NASA on the care and use of lunar samples. CAPTEM checks for favorable peer review (step A) and appropriate sample selection (step B).
  4. Given CAPTEM endorsement and concurrence by NASA Headquarters, the Lunar Sample Curator will prepare a Lunar Sample Loan Agreement for signature by the investigator's institution.
    • The agreement includes a simple security plan that prescribes precautions to minimize prospects for theft or unauthorized use of lunar samples.
  5. Upon receipt of the properly executed loan agreement, the Lunar Sample Curator prepares the authorized samples and sends them to the investigator.
    • Quantities less than 10 grams can be sent directly by U. S. registered mail to domestic investigators. Shipments to foreign investigators are sent by U. S. diplomatic pouch mail to the American embassy nearest the requestor's location. Quantities larger than 10 grams must be hand-carried by the investigator or his/her representative.
  6. Continuation as a Lunar Sample Investigator.
    • An investigator's privilege for retention and use of lunar samples is contingent upon continued good standing with the Office of the Curator. The investigator will remain in good standing by fulfilling the following obligations:
      1. Maintenance of, and adherence to, the lunar sample loan agreement and security plan
      2. Timely cooperation with annual lunar sample inventory
      3. Timely cooperation with sample recalls