CAPTEM (Curation and Analysis Planning Team for Extraterrestrial Materials)
CAPTEM Home Page
Requesting Lunar Samples
Requesting Meteorite Samples
Requesting Cosmic Dust Samples
Requesting Stardust Samples
Requesting Asteroid (Including Hayabusa) Samples
Requesting Genesis Samples
Summary of CAPTEM Meetings
Astromaterials Curation page at NASA Johnson Space Center
Lunar List Server
Publications and Documents
Public Displays of Apollo Samples
Links of Interest
CAPTEM Analysis
Lunar Sample Acquisition and Curation Review
CAPTEM Internal Link
Mars Sample Return


Revisions to CAPTEM’s Charter are being made that will more explicitly explain how each subcommittee reviews and recommends allocations of samples. Revisions will also reflect the pending inclusion of the Meteorite Working Group. CAPTEM is preparing to carry out an inspection of the Lunar sample facilities this Spring to address whether curation and handling procedures match advances in analytical science, particularity in terms of specific elements and isotope systems that were not commonly analyzed in the past. An ad hoc Contamination Cleanliness task force will be formed and chaired by Dimitri Papanastassiou, chair of the Facilities subcommittee. The new online Forum for Community Feedback reflects a work in progress. Feedback or suggestions for how to provide more meaningful feedback to CAPTEM are welcome (see feedback link below). Much needed updates to the CAPTEM webpage have been made and more are in progress.

Allocations since last meeting for Cosmic Dust include 64 particles; for Genesis include 8 samples and 6 reference materials; and a record number of 465 Lunar samples. The Meteorite Working Group subcommittee had to cancel its planned request review meeting because of the government shutdown, and therefore allocation awards may be delayed. The Lunar subcommittee had to convene via telecom to make its allocation recommendations, also because of the shutdown.

As of January 2014 CAPTEM membership changes will include the departure of Justin Haggety and Steven Symes and the addition of Juliane Gross and Jeff Taylor to the Lunar subcommittee. Larry Nyquist will replace Andy Davis as CAPTEM member and Chair of the GENESIS subcommittee. Andrew Westphal will be reappointed as CAPTEM member and Chair of the Stardust and Informatics subcommittees. Once the merger with the Meteorite Working Group is finalized, Conel Alexander will be appointed as CAPTEM member and Chair of the MWG subcommittee. Curation personnel changes include the departure of Angela Green and new employees Marc Fries (Civil Servant), Charis Krysher, Jeremy Kent, and Emil Krnavek.

CAPTEM FeedbackNew


The Curation and Analysis Planning Team for Extraterrestrial Materials (CAPTEM) serves two functions: 1) It is a community-based, interdisciplinary forum for discussion and analysis of matters concerning the collection and curation of extraterrestrial samples, including planning future sample return missions.  In this role, CAPTEM supports human exploration objectives and their implications for architecture planning and activity prioritization for future exploration of planetary surfaces. Findings are provided to NASA through the NASA Advisory Council (NAC).  2) It is a standing review panel, charged with evaluating proposals requesting allocation of all extraterrestrial samples contained in NASA collections, with the exception of Antarctic meteorites. Such proposals are solicited by the Johnson Space Center (JSC) Astromaterials Acquisition and Curation Office. Committee findings are provided to the JSC Curator via the NASA Headquarters discipline scientist (DS) charged with oversight of JSC curation activities.

The Chair of CAPTEM is a member of the Planetary Science Subcommittee of the NAC, and as such is appointed to a three year term by the NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) in consultation with the NASA Administrator and the Chair of the Planetary Science Subcommittee of the NAC.  In addition to the Chair, CAPTEM will include up to 12 regular, voting members, plus a non-voting Secretary.  Regular CAPTEM members and the Secretary serve 3-year, renewable terms, and are appointed by the Chair, after consultation with the JSC Curator, with concurrence of the Headquarters DS.  The Secretary records the minutes of CAPTEM meetings, maintains the CAPTEM website, and responds to external inquiries.

In its role as a review panel, CAPTEM will form a standing allocation subcommittee for each of the collections of extraterrestrial samples under CAPTEM purview.  The allocation subcommittees will each be chaired by a regular, voting member of CAPTEM, and may contain any number of members, including other CAPTEM members, or experts from outside CAPTEM.  External subcommittee members will be selected by the subcommittee chairs, in consultation with other members of the subcommittee and the CAPTEM chair, with concurrence of the Headquarters DS, and will serve 3-year, renewable terms. Allocation subcommittees review all requests for sample allocation, and may also do analysis on issues related to curation of their particular collection.  The subcommittee chairs report their findings to CAPTEM.

In its role as an analysis group, CAPTEM may organize ad hoc or standing subcommittees to address specific issues.  The rules for membership in these committees are the same as for allocation subcommittees, except that these committees may be chaired by experts from outside CAPTEM.

CAPTEM will meet semi-annually or as otherwise needed to carry out its functions or at the request of the NAC Chair.

CAPTEM’s ongoing tasks in support of SMD are as follows:

  • provide peer review of requests for extraterrestrial samples;
  • provide technical assessment for all aspects of curation of extraterrestrial materials at Johnson Space Center;
  • act as a resource that can be used by approved NASA sample-return missions;
  • provide input to plans for construction and equipping of appropriate curatorial facilities to prevent contamination with terrestrial materials and potential cross-contamination of extra-terrestrial materials;
  • sponsor workshops relevant to sample return and sample science.

In the performance of these ongoing tasks, CAPTEM will coordinate with the Director of the Planetary Science Division of SMD and the JSC. Additional tasking for CAPTEM activities may be initiated through the NAC Chair from SMD, the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), the JSC Curation staff, the Committees or Subcommittees of the NAC, or the CAPTEM Chair. Final approval of prioritization and scheduling of requested tasks will be provided by the NAC Chair after consultation with the CAPTEM Chair. Logistical and organizational support to the CAPTEM will be provided through SMD, HEOMD and the Lunar and Planetary Institute.

Apollo 17 orange soil 74220
Apollo 17 troctolite 76535
ALH 84001 carbonate mineral globules
Cosmic Dust Grain
Apollo 17
orange soil 74220
Apollo 17
troctolite 76535
ALH 84001
carbonate mineral globules
Cosmic dust grain

Mars Sample Return

Mars Sample Return


Last updated
January 28, 2014