Appendix to Charter : Cosmic Dust Subcommittee

The Cosmic Dust Subcommittee of CAPTEM consists of six voting members, one of whom is Chair and a member of CAPTEM.


The Cosmic Dust Subcommittee provides:

  • Peer review of requests for allocation of Cosmic Dust samples.  Sample requests are reviewed to enable curatorial decisions that maximize the scientific and educational value of Cosmic Dust particles, and preserve samples for future generations.
  • Technical assessments of the Cosmic Dust collection and curation procedures.  Technical assessments are provided for all aspects of Cosmic Dust sample collection and 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 to the Cosmic Dust Curator.  These may be submitted electronically, and at any time. The Curator forwards requests from investigators to the Chair of the Cosmic Dust Subcommittee, for distribution to the Subcommittee, along with information about sample availability.  Requests are reviewed to assess the feasibility and scientific or educational merit of the proposed investigation, the capability of the researcher to manipulate and analyze the samples, and the availability of the samples.  The Chair convenes 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.

The Subcommittee does not normally provide peer review for requests to allocate samples of unambiguously terrestrial origin, e.g., volcanic dust and aluminum oxide spheres, from the stratospheric collectors; the Cosmic Dust Curator reviews such requests. If the Curator wishes to have such a request reviewed, then the committee handles it using the normal procedure.