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


As of January 1, 2015 there will be two new subcommittee chairs on CAPTEM: Kevin McKeegan (Asteroid Returned Samples) and Alan Treiman (Lunar Samples). Aaron Burton will take over as CAPTEM Secretary. Cindy Evans is now the manager of the Astromaterials Acquisition and Curation Office, within the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division of the Exploration Integration and Science Directorate (EISD) at JSC. JSC is interviewing candidates for the Astromaterials Curator position.

CAPTEM’s Charter has been revised and now explicitly explains how each subcommittee reviews and recommends allocations of samples.

The infrastructure and curation facilities at JSC are running well. The timeline for JSC to complete renovations for Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx cleanrooms will be synchronized for cost savings. The Organic Contamination Baseline Study (Calaway et al.) is now available. It documents the current and historical status of the labs to as recently as 2012. Effort has been made to renovate the Curation database. The framework of this upgrade is complete. The meteorite collection is ready for testing, and data is being added for the other collections. Concerns related to the timing of the announcement of sample availability for Stardust particles have been heard and future announcements will follow verification that they exist and are ready for allocation within a routine timeframe.

A number of new initiatives by JSC curation have begun. These include: (1) retrofitting the Apollo 16 cabinet for remote PI sample inspection, (2) non-destructive 3D and volumetric reconstructions of lunar and meteorite samples, and (3) instrument product research preparing for the micro-CT purchase (FY15).

A report by the Lunar Cleanliness Curation Task Force (chaired by Dimitri Papanastassiou) was submitted to the CAPTEM chair for review.  Overall the task force found that the curation of lunar materials at JSC is exceptional. However, the report lists a number of findings to ensure that the lunar sample collection remains useful for new analytical techniques.

Feedback or suggestions for how to provide more meaningful feedback to CAPTEM are welcome (see feedback link below).

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. 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.  A temporary Chair may be appointed by the Chair, in consultation with the Headquarters DS, in the event that the Chair must be absent from a meeting.  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 and studies 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.

Appendices to CAPTEM Charter
These describe how each Subcommittee makes its findings.

Asteroid Returned Samples Subcommittee
Cosmic Dust Subcommittee
Facilities Subcommittee
Genesis Subcommittee
Informatics Subcommittee
Lunar Sample Subcommittee
Stardust Subcommittee

Note:  MWG appendix is awaiting three-agency approval.


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
December 3, 2014