The Extraterrestrial Materials Analysis Group (ExMAG) is a community-based, interdisciplinary group providing a forum for discussion and analysis of matters concerning the collection, curation, and analysis of extraterrestrial samples, including planning future sample return missions. ExMAG also supports human exploration objectives and their implications for architecture planning and activity prioritization for future exploration of planetary surfaces insofar as they plan on collecting samples for return and analysis.
- Conduct analysis, either independently, or at the request of NASA or NASA advisory committees, including: all aspects of curation of extraterrestrial materials; plans for construction and outfitting of curatorial facilities; contamination knowledge and contamination control of curated samples; development of analytical capabilities, tools and infrastructure to enable or enhance science return of extraterrestrial samples
- Act as a resource that can be consulted by sample-return missions at NASA and elsewhere;
- Coordinate and cooperate with other analysis groups (AGs) on matters of mutual interest pertinent to sample return and curation;
- Provide a forum open to all members of the planetary science and exploration community for independent discussion and analysis of matters within its purview;
- Communicate its analysis findings, as appropriate, to the planetary science community and to NASA. Sponsor workshops and studies relevant to sample science and future mission, curation, and analysis plans;
In support of ExMAG, NASA will:
- Invite the ExMAG Chair to present findings to the Planetary Science Advisory Committee (PAC).
- Appoint a HQ Representative to serve on the ExMAG Steering Committee.
- Provide financial and logistical support through the Lunar and Planetary Institute.
ExMAG activities will be guided by a Steering Committee. The Steering Committee exists to form a tight link between NASA Curation, the community, and NASA HQ. The Steering Committee shall be responsible for coordinating NASA requests to and findings from the ExMAG membership, approving actions affecting the structure of ExMAG subcommittees aligned with NASA sample collections, and providing feedback on the appointment of the ExMAG Chair. The ExMAG Chair and Secretary shall be members of the Steering Committee ex officio. If a ExMAG Chair-elect has been selected, this person shall be invited to all Steering Committee meetings and copied on all correspondence. A HQ Representative, who will serve as the point of contact and liaison between ExMAG and NASA Headquarters, shall be appointed to the Steering Committee by the Director of the Planetary Science Division (PSD). The JSC Astromaterials Curator shall be a member of the Steering Committee ex officio. Decisions of the Steering Committee shall be made jointly by the ExMAG Chair, HQ Representative, and Astromaterials Curator; the ExMAG Secretary and an attending Chair-elect shall be non-voting members.
The regular membership of ExMAG shall consist of the ExMAG Chair and up to 15 regular members, all of whom may vote on matters before the group. One of the regular ExMAG members shall be selected by the Chair to serve as Vice-Chair, who will preside over the committee in the event that the Chair must be absent from a meeting or is conflicted on a specific matter. One of the voting members shall be selected by the Chair to serve as Secretary, who will help organize ExMAG meetings, record the minutes of ExMAG meetings, maintain the ExMAG website, and respond to external inquiries.
ExMAG may form standing or ad hoc subcommittees. Among these shall be a number of standing subcommittees sufficient to provide expertise in matters pertaining to the curation and analysis of each of NASA’s collections of extraterrestrial samples. A collection subcommittee may cover more than one collection, when practical and the required expertise is similar. All standing subcommittees, including the collection subcommittees, shall be Chaired by regular members of ExMAG, and may contain any number of members, including other ExMAG members, or experts from outside ExMAG. A list of standing subcommittees is given in Appendix I.
Formation or dissolution of a standing subcommittee requires a majority vote of ExMAG; the ExMAG Chair may form or dissolve ad hoc committees. Actions affecting the structure of the collections subcommittees require concurrence from the Steering Committee.
All subcommittees shall coordinate their activities with and report findings to the ExMAG Chair.
III) Membership and terms:
Membership in ExMAG and its subcommittees is open to all qualified scientists, without regard to nationality. However, curators of astromaterials collections at JSC and their staff are not eligible to be ExMAG Chair or chair of any subcommittees.
Terms: Regular members of ExMAG, plus all members of standing subcommittees, will serve staggered, three-year, renewable terms. The Chair’s term shall be three years, even if the Chair is selected from among the regular members and has fewer than three years remaining in their regular term; the Chair’s term may be renewed only once consecutively. All terms run from January 1 through December 31. In the case of a vacancy among regular members of ExMAG, the replacement member shall serve for the remainder of the term of the person they replace; however, if that term has less than one year left, the replacement member should be invited to complete the old term and then serve an additional three-year term. In the case of a vacancy in the Chair of ExMAG, the replacement Chair will serve a three-year term, regardless of how long their predecessor served: if the replacement’s term begins in January through June, the current year will count as their complete first year; if the replacement’s term begins July or later, their term will be the remainder of the current year plus three additional years.
Appointment of the Chair: Approximately one year prior to the expiration of the current Chair’s term, or when a vacancy arises, ExMAG shall consider the appointment of the next Chair. If the outgoing Chair is completing their first term, and if the Chair is willing, ExMAG, in consultation with the Steering Committee, may elect the Chair to a second term. Should the Chair need to be replaced, the Chair will solicit nominations for a new Chair from regular ExMAG members and the Steering Committee; if there is a vacancy in the Chair, the vice Chair will solicit the nominations, and may offer their own name as a candidate should they so choose. ExMAG will prepare a ranked list of candidates for the Steering Committee, who will consult with the PSD Director and provide feedback to ExMAG. The Steering Committee’s feedback will be considered by the Chair, who will be empowered to use the ranked list and HQ feedback to invite the next Chair to serve. Regular ExMAG members who are nominated to be Chair shall recuse themselves from all discussions that ensue.
The Chair-elect shall serve as a non-voting, ex officio member of ExMAG and the Steering Committee until the start of their term as Chair. However, if the Chair-elect is a current member of ExMAG, then they shall continue in their voting role on ExMAG until their term as Chair commences.
Appointment of regular members: When a new regular member is required, the Chair will solicit nominations from ExMAG and the Steering Committee and put nominations to a vote; selection requires a majority vote of ExMAG membership. At least six months prior to expiration of a regular ExMAG member’s term, the Chair will decide whether to invite that member (if they are completing their term) to serve an additional term; if so, the Chair will invite them to remain on ExMAG. In general, two terms as a regular member will be considered full service, unless that person’s unique knowledge or other factors make it advantageous to consider longer service.
Collection subcommittee Chairs: Collection-related subcommittee Chairs will be appointed by the ExMAG Chair, in consultation with the collection subcommittee in question and the curator(s) of the collection(s) with which the collection subcommittee is aligned. Appointment requires concurrence of the Steering Committee. Each collection subcommittee Chair shall also serve as a regular member of ExMAG. The appointment of a collection subcommittee Chair may be made from the regular members of ExMAG or as part of the nomination and appointment process when a new regular member is brought onto ExMAG. Collection subcommittee Chairs will serve for the length of their ExMAG term(s), but may be removed from their subcommittee duties by the Steering Committee. A collection subcommittee Chair who is removed or resigns may remain a regular member of ExMAG. However, if the Steering Committee determines that no appropriate replacement for the subcommittee Chair is present among regular ExMAG members, the Steering Committee may require the departing subcommittee Chair to resign from ExMAG, and will then appoint an interim subcommittee Chair pending the filling of the ExMAG and collection subcommittee vacancy.
The Mars collection subcommittee shall have two co-Chairs, each a regular ExMAG member, one a US scientist and the other a European scientist.
Non-collection subcommittee Chairs and members of all subcommittees: The Chairs of all other subcommittees, standing and ad hoc, will be selected by the ExMAG Chair, who also may replace them. The process for addition and removal of members of all subcommittees will be determined by the ExMAG Chair.
All requests for ExMAG analysis by NASA or NASA advisory groups shall be routed through the Steering Committee prior to the ExMAG Chair beginning actions on ExMAG. ExMAG findings on such requests shall likewise be routed through the Steering Committee prior to their delivery back to the requestor. The HQ Representative will communicate the findings to NASA Headquarters; the Astromaterials Curator will communicate findings to JSC; and the ExMAG Chair will communicate findings to the NASA advisory group (currently the PAC).
When acting as an independent analysis group, the ExMAG Chair will communicate with NASA via the Steering Committee. However, for findings on which ExMAG wishes to receive a formal response from NASA, findings must also be communicated by the Chair to the Planetary Science Advisory Committee (PAC).
The ExMAG Chair shall represent the committee and make reports to the PAC on request. ExMAG will present those findings for which a formal response from NASA is desired to the Planetary Science Advisory Committee (PAC). Findings in response to requests from NASA or its advisory committees will also be reported to the originator(s) of the request. All findings will be posted to the ExMAG website.
ExMAG will meet in a public forum semi-annually or as otherwise needed to carry out its functions. Meetings may be in person or electronic. ExMAG public meetings shall be open to all interested parties.
Amendments to this charter may be proposed by the Steering Committee or by ExMAG members. Approval requires a 2/3 majority vote of ExMAG and concurrence from the Steering Committee. The appendices (lists of subcommittees) may be updated by the recording secretary as changes occur, following procedures in this charter.
Appendix I. List of Standing Subcommittees as of Jan 1, 2021
|Subcommittee name||Purview||Reports review findings to|
|Lunar subcommittee||Returned lunar samples (excludes lunar meteorites found on Earth)||Lunar Curator|
|Meteorite subcommittee||Antarctic meteorites||Meteorite Curator|
|Genesis subcommittee||Genesis samples||Genesis Curator|
|Asteroid subcommittee||Returned asteroid samples from Hayabusa, Hayabusa2, and OSIRIS-REx (excludes Antarctic meteorites)||Hayabusa Curator; Hayabusa2 Curator; OSIRIS-REx Curator|
|Microparticle subcommittee||Cosmic dust; Stardust samples; microparticle impact samples; Antarctic micrometeorites||Cosmic Dust Curator; Stardust Curator; Microparticle Impact Curator|
|Mars subcommittee||Future returned samples from Mars and its moons (excludes martian meteorites found on Earth)||Mars Curator|
|Space-Exposed Hardware subcommittee||Space-exposed hardware||Space-exposed hardware Curator|
|Facilities & Informatics subcommittee||Curation facilities, data management and public access for astromaterials|
ExMAG Committee Roles and Responsibilities
Committee Members: All ExMAG committee members participate in and contribute to the activities of the committee including participating in regular meetings of the ExMAG committee and community, discussion and analysis of issues brought before the committee, assuming responsibility for activities, analyses, or initiatives as appropriate and decided by the committee or requested by NASA, identifying actions and findings coming from committee meetings and activities, and communicating with the chair and other members between meetings regarding projects and concerns. In addition to their regular duties as ExMAG committee members, each member may take on one or more of the additional duties below:
Chair: The ExMAG Chair provides ExMAG committee leadership and guidance. The Chair plans and coordinates ExMAG’s work in accordance with the goals of the ExMAG membership and Steering committee, makes assignments to the ExMAG committee for activities and actions, monitors their implementation, and ensures that decisions represent the collective views of the committee. The Chair recruits and approves Committee members, plans and holds Committee meetings, maintains records and relevant information on committee work, and communicates ExMAG activities to the public. The Chair provides semiannual reports on ExMAG activities and findings to the Planetary Advisory Council and represents ExMAG at other functions or meetings as requested. Time Commitment 0.2 FTE (funded by NASA)
Vice Chair: The ExMAG Vice Chair assists the Chair in providing leadership to the committee and community. The Vice Chair works with the chair to execute leadership activities as worked out by them and stands in for the chair if the chair is unavailable at functions or meetings. The Vice Chair is additionally responsible for Spring and Fall ExMAG community meeting planning, including coordinating with ExMAG members for dates, determining and organizing meeting content and structure, and inviting speakers. They work with the Secretary for logistics of executing the meetings, the Early-Career and DEIA reps for input into planning, and subcommittee chairs for content and speakers. Time commitment 0.1 FTE/WYE
Secretary: The ExMAG Secretary assists in the organization and running of the ExMAG meetings, website, and communications. The Secretary organizes monthly committee meetings; takes meeting minutes and distributes them to the committee; maintains ExMAG calendar of activities and subcommittee meetings; ensures membership information is up to date; monitors and updates the website; and maintains records of meetings and membership. The secretary also works with the Vice Chair to organize logistical support within ExMAG for Spring and Fall meetings including initiating LPI communications and support requests, chairing sessions, advertising the meetings to mailing lists and social media, and meeting facilitation such as note taking, presentation coordination, etc. Time commitment 0.1 FTE/WYE
Subcommittee Chairs: The ExMAG maintains a number of subcommittees aligned with NASA sample collections and facilities. Subcommittee chairs are responsible for insight and analysis into the maintenance and use of these collections, which they do by planning and holding subcommittee meetings, distributing minutes of meetings and other material from the subcommittee to the ExMAG committee, and identifying and implementing action items and analysis for subcommittee consideration. Committee chairs are asked to prepare a written annual report at the end of a calendar year outlining the major activities and issues that were covered during the year.
Early Career (EC) representative: The EC representative is a crucial link between ExMAG and the early career sample analysis community. They provide feedback from students and early career researchers, so that we can take action to improve our early career scientists’ activities at ExMAG meetings and maintain our support for early career scientists throughout the year. The EC representative is a full ExMAG committee member who fully participates in ExMAG activities and tasks, according to their areas of expertise and interest.
Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) representative: Serves as ExMAG representative to the Planetary Science IDEA working group. Stays up to date on best practices for IDEA principles and works to ensure ExMAG incorporates them in all Committee activities and meetings.
Subcommittee members: Subcommittee members are not full ExMAG Committee members, but serve vital roles conducting analysis and providing community input to the Subcommittee and the collection or activity the Subcommittee represents.
ExMAG Code of Conduct
The ExMAG committee establishes this Code of Conduct to promote a safe and more equitable work environment for all members of the community. The ExMAG Code of Conduct outlines the minimum expected commitment and conduct of the SC members as they work together to support and advance the community's goals for sample analysis of extraterrestrial materials.
December 2021 - Under development
Feedback or suggestions for how to provide more meaningful feedback to CAPTEM are welcome (see feedback link below).