Lunar Sample Returns

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Instructions for Sample Returns


  1. Accountability & History
    1. Use Curatorial Form F-75
      • Complete one Curatorial Form F-75, Return Sample Accountability & History (Part A only) for the return of each sample which appears on your inventory listing. You do not need to complete the form to return samples which were issued to you as thin sections or probe mounts unless they wereused in analysis by ion probe, LA-ICP-MS, or other destructive technique. Use Form F-75, Continuation Sheet to list any subsamples that you have derived from the samples that you were assigned. If you have not made any splits, only the first page of the form need be used. If you have made more than 5 splits of any sample, you may either reproduce the Continuation Sheet yourself, or you may obtain additional copies from the Curator by contacting the Sample Control Center.
    2. Use Official Sample Numbers According to Your Sample Inventory
      • You may obtain a current listing of your samples by contacting the Sample Control Center at 281-483-2254 or FAX 281-483-5347.
    3. Document Sample Utilization According to Mass
      • Enter the appropriate mass for each item in the spaces provided in Part A, lines 1-8. The masses should refer to the entire sample which appears on your inventory listing. Note that the masses which appear on the inventory reflect the amounts for which you are currently accountable, and may differ from the original masses which you were issued. Such differences reflect transfers of portions of the samples which were authorized by the Sample Curator, any amounts consumed which you reported as the result of an annual inventory, or parts of the samples which you previously returned.
    4. Document Sample History with Regard to Contamination or Modification
      • Document the contamination history for each sample in the spaces provided as block 9 of Part A. The following questions should be used as guidelines:
        1. Has the sample been chemically degraded by exposure to or admixture with major or trace elements, organic or inorganic liquids, or heavy metals?
        2. Has the sample been exposed to an electromagnetic field?
        3. Has the sample been separated based on mineralogical or petrological properties, grain size, density, or magnetic properties?
        4. Has the sample been exposed to gases other than dry nitrogen, such as air, inert gases, or halogens?
        5. Has the sample been heated, fused or dissolved, or otherwise undergone any thermodynamic change in state?
        6. Has the sample been irradiated or undergone neutron activation?
        7. Has the sample been affixed to or imbedded in a substrate such as glass or epoxy? Samples degraded in this manner will include thin sections, probe mounts, potted butts, grain mounts, etc. Please be specific as to the current state of the sample.
        8. If the sample is a thin section or probe mount, has it been subjected to ion-probe analysis, LA-ICP-MS analysis, or other destructive method?
  2. Packaging
    1. Use Double Containers for Samples.
      • As a minimum, provide two layers of protection against contamination, such as a sample vial within a plastic bag. Contact the Curator's office regarding special requirements; cleaned containers can be provided on request (allow one month for delivery).
    2. Package for U.S. Registered Mail or the Equivalent.
      • Prepare packages so that they are strongly resistant to damage. Container strength and sealing provisions should be compatible with requirements of registered mail with the U.S. Postal Service.
  3. Transmittal by Investigators in the United States
    1. Hand-Carry Large Samples.
      • Samples that weigh more than 10 grams, individually or in total, must be hand-carried to the Sample Curator unless the Curator provides a written exemption in advance.
    2. Send Small Samples by Registered Mail.
      • Samples weighing less than 10 grams may be mailed from points within the U.S. You may request NASA official business return mailing labels from the Curator's office; you must add your name clearly to the labels. (In the event that the Post Office will not accept these labels, you are required to pay the postage.) Send the samples by REGISTERED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED to the addresses listed under Contact Information.
      The U.S. Government acts as a self-insurer. Do not obtain postal insurance for planetary materials samples transmitted by the U.S. Postal Service.
  4. Transmittal by Investigators Outside the United States
    1. Hand-Carry Large Samples
      • Samples that weigh more than 10 grams, individually or in total, must be hand-carried to the Sample Curator unless the Curator provides a written exemption in advance.
    2. Use International Courier Service e.g. FedEx
      • Return samples to the Apollo Curator via international courier service when samples weigh less than 10 grams singly or in the aggregate. Samples packaged separately can be placed in different packages to keep the weight under 10 grams. Send package to the address listed under Contact Information.
  5. Contact Information
  6. If you require help in any aspect of your sample return, please use the following point of contact:

  • 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.