Astromaterials Newsletter – Volume 1 No. 2 August 2019
Apollo Sample News
Ryan Zeigler, Apollo Curator
First off, an apology is owed to the lunar sample science community, as Apollo sample allocations have been slow over the past 6 months and I have not been very communicative about it. This was in large part due to labor bandwidth issues within the office related to adding the recent ANGSA (Apollo Next Generation Sample Analysis) program, the 50th anniversary celebrations for the Apollo 11 mission, and time-sensitive work to help get ready for the next round of lunar sample return missions (Artemis 2024).
We have addressed this through several staffing changes, most notably that Dr. Juliane Gross will be joining us for the next 20 months as the deputy Apollo Sample Curator. I have also stepped away from most of my non-lunar responsibilities within the curation office. Those things coupled with our new lunar processor hired in the Spring (Lacey Costello) being fully up to speed should allow us to clear the backlog of allocations in short order.
For ANGSA, we are preparing to open and start dissecting the first "new" Apollo sample in October. This will be the dissection of unopened and unsealed drive tube sample 73002, the top half of the double drive tube taken at station 3 on the landslide deposits from the South Massif. The bottom half of the same drive tube, sealed sample 73001 will be opened sometime next year, once the technology and procedures to extract the gas from the sample are in place. Preparations for the opening and processing of the cold and He-purged samples are continuing apace, and this work will commence as the technology and procedures mature. The ANGSA samples are not yet available for request by non-ANGSA team members, and a final decision has not yet been made on when the ANGSA samples will be released for general allocation. However, it will be announced in a forthcoming issue of the Astromaterials Newsletter (and elsewhere) when those samples are available for request.
We are still planning to use the X-ray Computed Tomography (XCT) system in the curation office to non-destructively characterize selected Apollo (and meteorite) samples, concentrating (at least initially) on large polymict breccias. Other projects have bumped this project to the back-burner slightly, but stay tuned in this space for an announcement of "new" clasts for study.
That is not to say that XCT work has not been done on the Apollo samples at all. We are thrilled to announce the initial release of the Astromaterials 3D project webpage. This is a project that is imaging the Apollo samples (and meteorites) in 3D using multiple techniques (visible imaging and XCT). The release is just the first of many samples that will be released to the public. This initial release is the result of massive amounts of work and clever innovation by Erika Blumenfeld and her team, and kudos are definitely in order!
If you have not already seen it, the Apollo 11 in Real Time webpage was finalized by Ben Feist in time for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. It is a magnificent achievement by Ben, along with his previous work on the Apollo 17 Mission. While this work is wholly Ben's, they are an invaluable resource for PIs as they prepare future sample requests, so I wanted to make sure everyone had seen them.
So the next CAPTEM request deadline for Apollo samples will be Friday September 6th at 5:00 PM CST. I look forward to your new requests, and as always, don't hesitate to contact me for all of you Apollo sample needs!
We celebrated the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 this summer, and it was wonderful to see a public excited and engaged in that historic milestone. Furthermore, the Apollo lab continues to prepare to open some of the previously unopened Apollo Next Generation Sample Analysis (ANGSA) samples. These samples are not yet available for request by non-ANGSA team members, but when they do become available, they will be announced in a forthcoming issue of the Astromaterials Newsletter. Although ANGSA activities are ramping up, we will continue to accept, evaluate, and fulfill lunar sample requests for non-ANGSA Apollo and Luna samples; however, minor delays in the evaluation and allocation process are possible given the heightened activities in the lab during ANGSA.