Appendix to Charter : Asteroid Returned Sample Subcommittee

The Asteroid Sample Return Subcommittee of CAPTEM consists of six voting members, one of whom is Chair and a member of CAPTEM.


The Asteroid Sample Return Subcommittee provides:

  • Peer review of requests for allocation of asteroid Itokawa samples provided to NASA by the JAXA Hayabusa mission.  Sample requests are reviewed to enable curatorial decisions that maximize the scientific and educational value of these samples, and preserve samples for future generations.
  • Technical assessments of NASA curation plans for future samples to be returned by the NASA New Frontiers mission OSIRIS-REx to asteroid Bennu and the JAXA Hayabusa 2 mission to asteroid 1999 JU3.  These technical assessments are provided for all aspects of curation, including sample and hardware handling processes, contamination control, documentation, and facilities design, care and use.

Allocation Review Process

Investigators are required to submit sample allocation requests that follow guidelines published online in the Asteroid Sample Return Investigator’s Guidebook.  These may be submitted electronically, and at any time.  The Curator forwards requests from investigators to the Asteroid Sample Return Subcommittee, along with information about sample availability.  Requests are reviewed to assess the feasibility and scientific merit of the proposed investigation, the capability of the researcher to manipulate and analyze the samples, and the availability and preservation of the sample.  The Chair may convene a discussion among Subcommittee members by email or by teleconference for more complex issues.  The findings of the Subcommittee are transmitted to the Curator, who makes allocation recommendations and communicates them to the NASA HQ Discipline Scientist for approval.