NASA to study previously unopened Apollo sample

Katie Ramirez
November 8, 2019

Pictured from left: Apollo sample processors Andrea Mosie, Charis Krysher and Juliane Gross open lunar sample 73002 at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The tube-shaped cylinder of rock and moon dust (or regolith) is 2 feet (61 centimeters) long and 1.5 inches (4 cm) in diameter.

NASA's call to industry asking American companies to provide an integrated human landing system for the agency's Artemis lunar exploration programme, has been answered by space manufacturing giant Boeing with a design that specifies it will ensure a "fewest steps to the Moon" approach that minimises mission complexity. The ultimate goal is to build a sustained presence on the moon by 2028, which would be used as a launching point for missions to Mars.

"The analysis of these samples will maximize the science return from Apollo", she said in a statement.

For almost half a century, samples returned to Earth from the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 missions were cleverly stored and preserved for the future, when technology would eventually advance enough to study them.

"Our scientific technologies have vastly improved in the past 50 years, and scientists have an opportunity to analyze these samples in ways not previously possible", McCubbin said. The space agency was headed back there anyway, but a mandate from the Trump administration is pushing them to complete its Moon return much sooner than originally planned, and NASA has been scrambling to get things in order. While a lot of them have already been studied, NASA has kept many in storage to be opened over time as technology continues to advance. "To be the one to open a sample that hasn't been opened since it was collected on the Moon is such an honor and heavy responsibility, we're touching history".

This sample was the first set of two scheduled to be opened in the coming months. Looking further ahead to future Artemis missions, later Boeing landers "will use other fuel sources and include reusable elements", said the spokesperson. Once removed, it will be processed in a glovebox and shared with scientific teams selected for the ANGSA research.

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Under NASA's Artemis mission, the astronauts will be first sent to the Orion spacecraft using the new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. They will also gain a better understanding of how well Apollo tools worked, which will help with tool designs for future lunar missions. "It's exciting to have this vision come true", he added.

Two specimens-73002 and 73001, both collected on Apollo 17-will be inspected as part of ANGSA. He is actively involved in UNM's science team.

In addition, the legislation backs up NASA's latest announcement that it would like to build and launch a new area telescope by or before 2025 to detect the vast the vast majority of near-Earth asteroids that could potentially strike the Earth.

Despite the fact that the 2019 authorization laws does not mention a 2024 Moon landing, it calls for NASA to "collaborate with commercial and global partners to create sustainable lunar exploration by 2028".

Following exploration of the lunar surface by astronauts, the crew lifts off from the moon inside the Ascent Element in this artist concept.

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