Appendix to Charter : Lunar Sample Subcommittee

The Lunar Sample Subcommittee of CAPTEM consists of seven voting members. The Chair and two or more Subcommittee members are members of CAPTEM.


The Lunar Sample Subcommittee provides peer review of:

  • Requests made to the Apollo Sample Curator for allocation of Apollo samples. Sample requests are reviewed with the goals of maximizing the scientific, engineering, or educational return of the lunar sample collection while preserving samples for future study.
  • Requests for public display of Apollo samples by museums.

The Lunar Sample Subcommittee provides technical assessments of:

  • Sample curation procedures.  Technical assessments are provided for all aspects of sample curation, including sample and hardware handling processes, contamination control, documentation, and facilities design, care, and use.

Allocation Review Process

Investigators submit requests in the form of a letter to the Curator.  The Checklist on the Curator’s website recommends that requests contain the following items.

  • Cover letter signed by Principal Investigator (PI) who will be responsible for the security of any allocated lunar samples.
  • Description of the scientific goals and objectives of the proposed work.
  • Specification of the samples (sample numbers) requested for research.
  • Description of the analytical techniques to be applied.
  • Background of new proposing PI/Co-I team (first-time sample requestors only).

The Curator forwards requests to the Subcommittee, along with information about sample availability.  The Subcommittee Chair assigns each request to a Subcommittee member familiar with the analytical techniques described in the request. That member then acts as chief reviewer for the request by summarizing the masses and sample numbers of the requested samples, the nature of the scientific goals that the request addresses, the analytical techniques that will be applied to the samples, and how the specific samples requested and analytical techniques to be used address the scientific goals.  Questions that the Subcommittee typically considers are as follows.  Are lunar samples actually needed to address the scientific goals? Are the specific samples requested the best samples to address the goals?  Is the mass of sample requested justified and reasonable? Will approval of the request deplete the mass of requested sample to an unacceptable level?  Does the requestor have a demonstrated capability of being able to do the analysis or experiments proposed? The Subcommittee discusses and makes findings on the merit of the request. Pass with modifications usually involves denying certain requested samples, allocating a smaller mass of material than requested, or allocating a different or better sample than that requested. If there is insufficient information upon which to judge the request, the Subcommittee may request additional information.  Feedback will be provided in cases of low intrinsic merit.  The chief reviewer then prepares a Lunar Sample Allocation Review form on the Subcommittee’s findings. The findings of the Subcommittee are transmitted to the Curator.

The Subcommittee does not normally provide peer review for requests to allocate samples of thin sections for petrographic study or for pristine samples less than 1 g in mass and returned samples <10 g in mass for ongoing previously approved projects; the Apollo Sample Curator reviews such requests and is empowered to provide a “Curatorial Allocation” as documented in KT/Astromaterials Curatorial Policy Memo #40. If the Curator desires to have such a request reviewed, however, then the Subcommittee reviews the request using the normal procedure.