Pristine Lunar Samples from the Apollo Era Opened

Image credit: NASA

On November 5, scientists at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) opened untouched samples brought back from the Moon during the Apollo era. The rock and soil samples will be studied as part of the Apollo Next Generation Sample Analysis (ANGSA) initiative, which is leveraging advanced technologies to study Apollo samples by using new tools that were not available when the samples were originally returned to Earth.

The ANGSA initiative is being co-led by Dr. Charles (Chip) Shearer, a visiting scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI). JSC scientist Francis McCubbin is the other co-lead for this initiative. Shearer is also the Principal Investigator for the Consortium for the Advanced Analysis of Apollo Samples (CAAAS), one of nine teams to participate in the ANGSA initiative. This multigenerational and multidisciplinary team will systematically examine samples 73002 and 73001, part of a two-foot long “drive tube” of regolith, collected by astronauts Harrison Schmitt and Gene Cernan from a landslide deposit near Lara Crater at the Apollo 17 site. The ANGSA team is functioning as participants in a low-cost lunar sample return mission. This is a vital link between the Apollo Program and the future exploration of the Moon by the Artemis Program. READ MORE