Astromaterials Newsletter – Volume 1 No. 1 March 2019
Apollo Sample News
Ryan Zeigler, Apollo Curator
Hello and welcome to the first of what will be many astromaterials newsletters announcing exciting new opportunities to study the Apollo Sample Suite. Now, I know what you are thinking, "When did we get new samples back from the Moon?!" The short answer is that we haven't, at least not just yet, but there are still exciting new things just over the horizon, and this update in the inaugural astromaterials newsletter is setting the stage for great things to come in the next months and years.
Many in the lunar sample community will have seen the recent solicitation for the Apollo Next Generation Sample Analysis Program (ANGSA) that was released in July of 2018 to study specially curated Apollo samples including: (1) previously unopened sealed and unsealed drive-tube samples; (2) samples opened and curated under He-purged conditions; and (3) samples stored at -20°C since shortly after opening. The proposals selected from this program have been announced, and while the ANGSA program may have been a one-off solicitation, these samples will be available for general request starting sometime in early 2020. More information about these samples can be found on our website here.
Recently we added a Nikon XTH 320 X-ray Computed Tomography system to the curation office. This instrument allows for the non-destructive characterization of the interior of rock samples. We have begun to scan Apollo (and meteorite) samples with this instrument, concentrating initially on large polymict breccias. Sometime later in 2019, we expect to release the first batch of "new" clasts found in these polymict breccias via this newsletter, which will then be available for request by PIs through the normal CAPTEM lunar sample request process. This scanner may eventually be available for use by lunar PIs on NASA-funded projects, although the details of that process are still being worked out.
Finally, it saddens me to report that Carol Schwarz, who had worked in the lunar (and other) sample curation laboratories since 1973, has recently retired. We all wish her well, but obviously we will miss her 45 years of sample processing experience. On a not unrelated note, we have recently added Lacey Costello to the staff as a lunar sample processor. Lacey recently got her Master's Degree in geology from Southern Illinois University working with Justin Filiberto, and while she is still new to the office, we expect great things from her over the coming years!
So, for now this note is only announcing that "samples are coming", but stay tuned in this same place for exciting announcements later in the year.