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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
×

STRATEGIC INVESTMENTS IN INSTRUMENTATION
AND FACILITIES FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL
SAMPLE CURATION AND ANALYSIS

Committee on Extraterrestrial
Sample Analysis Facilities

Space Studies Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

A Consensus Study Report of

images

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, DC
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

This activity was supported by Contract No. NNH17CB02B with National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-48669-9
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-48669-6
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25312

Cover: Polarized light microscope image of a lunar basalt returned by the Apollo 15 mission. Design by Jonathan Lutz, Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern, Space Studies Board.

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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25312.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
×

Image

The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
×

Image

Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task.

Proceedings published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other event convened by the National Academies. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and are not endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies.

For information about other products and activities of the National Academies, please visit www.nationalacademies.org/about/whatwedo.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
×

COMMITTEE ON EXTRATERRESTRIAL SAMPLE ANALYSIS FACILITIES

ROBERTA L. RUDNICK, NAS,1 University of California, Santa Barbara, Chair

GEORGE D. CODY, Carnegie Institution of Washington

JAMES H. CROCKER, NAE,2 Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (retired)

VINAYAK P. DRAVID, Northwestern University

JOHN M. EILER, NAS, California Institute of Technology

ABBY KAVNER, University of California, Los Angeles

TIMOTHY J. McCOY, Smithsonian Institution

CLIVE R. NEAL, University of Notre Dame

FRANK M. RICHTER,3 NAS, University of Chicago

HANIKA RIZO, Carleton University

KIMBERLY T. TAIT, Royal Ontario Museum

Staff

ABIGAIL A. SHEFFER, Senior Program Officer, Study Director

SARAH C. BROTHERS, Associate Program Officer

ANESIA WILKS, Senior Program Assistant

CARSON BULLOCK, Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern

JONATHAN LUTZ, Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern

___________________

1 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

2 Member, National Academy of Engineering.

3 Resigned from the committee on April 13, 2018.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
×

SPACE STUDIES BOARD

FIONA HARRISON,1 NAS, California Institute of Technology, Chair

JAMES H. CROCKER, NAE, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (retired), Vice Chair

GREGORY P. ASNER, NAS, Carnegie Institution for Science

JEFF M. BINGHAM, Consultant

ADAM S. BURROWS, NAS, Princeton University

MARY LYNNE DITTMAR, Dittmar Associates, Inc.

JEFF DOZIER, University of California, Santa Barbara

JOSEPH FULLER, JR., Futron Corporation

SARAH GIBSON, National Center for Atmospheric Research

VICTORIA E. HAMILTON, Southwest Research Institute

CHRYSSA KOUVELIOTOU, NAS, George Washington University

DENNIS P. LETTENMAIER, NAE, University of California, Los Angeles

ROSALY M. LOPES, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

STEPHEN J. MACKWELL, Universities Space Research Association

DAVID J. McCOMAS, Princeton University

LARRY PAXTON, Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory

ELIOT QUATAERT, University of California, Berkeley

BARBARA SHERWOOD LOLLAR, University of Toronto

HARLAN E. SPENCE, University of New Hampshire

MARK THIEMENS, NAS, University of California, San Diego

ERIKA WAGNER, Blue Origin

PAUL WOOSTER, Space Exploration Technologies

EDWARD L. WRIGHT, NAS, University of California, Los Angeles

Staff

COLLEEN HARTMAN, Director (after August 6, 2018)

MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director (until March 2, 2018)

RICHARD ROWBERG, Interim Director (March 2, 2018 to August 6, 2018)

CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator (until June 30, 2018)

TANJA PILZAK, Manager, Program Operations

CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate

MARGARET KNEMEYER, Financial Officer

___________________

1 Resigned from the board on December 31, 2018.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
×

Preface

Five sets of extraterrestrial samples gathered by missions, both human and robotic, have been returned to Earth: lunar materials from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Apollo program, lunar materials from the USSR Luna program, solar wind particles from the NASA Genesis mission, cometary dust grains and interstellar particles from the NASA Stardust mission, and asteroid materials from the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) Hayabusa mission. In addition, there are more than 50,000 named meteorites recovered from around the world. In the next decade, NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) and JAXA’s Hayabusa2 missions will return samples from two more asteroids, and sample return missions to a comet surface, the Moon, the martian moons, and Mars are being considered. The field of returned sample analysis is active and growing.

As part of preparing for the future influx of samples, the NASA Planetary Science Division (PSD) asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to assemble a committee to determine what capabilities will be required for curation and analyses of returned samples, where current capabilities exist and if they are accessible, and whether NASA’s investment strategy provides the resources to meet the analytical requirements in support of current and future sample return missions. The Committee on Extraterrestrial Sample Analysis was formed and began work on its task (see Appendix A for the full statement of task).

The committee held three in-person meetings: November 19-21, 2017, in Irvine, California; January 22-24, 2018, in Houston, Texas; and April 3-5, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (See Appendix D for meeting agendas.) At the first meeting, the committee heard briefings about the OSIRIS-REx mission, NASA’s current plans for a Mars sample return architecture, and an overview of the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) Astromaterials Acquisition and Curation Office and Planetary Sample Analysis and Mission Science Laboratory. The committee also was briefed on the current mechanism for sample allocation to external laboratories for study, an overview of the Smithsonian Institution meteorite collection, two concepts for cometary sample return, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Geosciences Instrumentation and Facilities Program, and the European Curation of Astromaterials Returned from Exploration of Space (EURO-CARES) project. At the second meeting, the committee held panel discussions on the curation and analysis of challenging materials, laboratory management and viability, and technological developments and innovation with representatives from university laboratories, NASA, and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). The committee was briefed on the Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return (CAESAR) mission that had recently been selected for additional study as part of the PSD New Frontiers mission competition. The committee also toured the JSC curation and sample analysis laboratory

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
×

facilities. The committee’s third meeting had a short information-gathering session, including briefings on the Reflectance Experiment Laboratory (RELAB) facility at Brown University; the Stardust Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley; and the NASA Goddard Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory, as well as additional discussion regarding the challenges of curation for organic and life detection studies, and a detailed update of the JSC Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science facility strategy. The remainder of the meeting was held in closed session for committee discussion and writing. The committee held two additional open teleconference meetings, a discussion with then NASA Planetary Science Division Director James Green on October 31, 2017, before the committee’s first in-person meeting, and briefings on the sampling system and curation and analysis plans for JAXA’s Hayabusa2 mission and the Martian Moons Exploration (MMX) mission concept on May 10, 2018.

The committee requested information from U.S. and international laboratories and museums on their major instrumentation and facilities, staffing, funding models, and major equipment upkeep. The committee thanks the 22 U.S. and 15 international respondents to this request (see Appendixes B and C). The committee also thanks the many planetary science researchers who discussed their work and opinions on the future of returned sample analysis research with the committee. Special thanks are given to the staff of JSC who graciously spent their first afternoon back in the office following a government shutdown giving tours of their facilities and also to the Lunar and Planetary Institute for hosting the committee’s Houston visit.

This report summarizes the history, planned future, and potential future of returned sample analysis missions as well as the current state of relevant laboratory facilities. Sample return from the surface of Mars is not expected until the late 2020s or early 2030s and will require extensive additional planning for special curation and research needs. The committee’s recommendations are focused primarily on the near-future needs for analytical and curation capabilities and the longer-term underpinnings for maintaining a vibrant sample analysis research community; thus, this report only briefly discusses the additional complications for curation and analysis of Mars surface samples.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
×

Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

We thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Rodney C. Ewing, NAE,2 Stanford University. He was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.

___________________

1 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

2 Member, National Academy of Engineering.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25312.
×
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The United States possesses a treasure-trove of extraterrestrial samples that were returned to Earth via space missions over the past four decades. Analyses of these previously returned samples have led to major breakthroughs in the understanding of the age, composition, and origin of the solar system. Having the instrumentation, facilities and qualified personnel to undertake analyses of returned samples, especially from missions that take up to a decade or longer from launch to return, is thus of paramount importance if the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is to capitalize fully on the investment made in these missions, and to achieve the full scientific impact afforded by these extraordinary samples. Planetary science may be entering a new golden era of extraterrestrial sample return; now is the time to assess how prepared the scientific community is to take advantage of these opportunities.

Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis assesses the current capabilities within the planetary science community for sample return analyses and curation, and what capabilities are currently missing that will be needed for future sample return missions. This report evaluates whether current laboratory support infrastructure and NASA’s investment strategy is adequate to meet these analytical challenges and advises how the community can keep abreast of evolving and new techniques in order to stay at the forefront of extraterrestrial sample analysis.

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