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Center Innovation Fund: JSC CIF

Advanced Curation For Current and Future Extraterrestrial Sample Collections

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

JSC is responsible for "The curation of all extraterrestrial material under NASA control, including future NASA missions."  This is year two of a planned three-year project of monitoring and development that will position JSC to curate samples from future missions with increasingly stringent requirements for organic contamination control, and to improve curation of current sample collections. The Planetary Science Decadal Survey 2013 - 2022 recommended Mars, the Moon, asteroids and comets as the highest priority sample return missions.  In support of these missions, the Decadal Survey stated that such missions "present new challenges, including curation of organics uncontaminated by Earth's biosphere . . ."

This is a planned three-year project to develop  extraterrestrial sample curation techniques and equipment to prepare for future human and robotic sample return missions to Mars, the Moon, asteroids, and comets as well as to improve techniques and equipment used in current curation operations.  The project focuses on sample curation with a high degree of organic cleanliness.  Specifically, during year 1 we developed a detailed understanding of historical organic contamination in the JSC Astromaterials Curation laboratories.  In year 2 we are monitoring current organic cleanliness and assessing cleaning techniques in the laboratories and a dedicated testbed.  In year 3 we plan to use the testbed to demonstrate methods and technology to reduce organic contamination in these laboratories.

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