XSPACE Seeks Partnerships with the Scientific Community

LPI-ARES scientist working on classification of a possible new meteorite using the Phenom XL scanning electron microscope at the LPI.

XSPACE (eXterrestrial SamPle, Analyses, Curation, and Exploration) is a new facility dedicated to the classification and curation of non-Antarctic meteorites, whose mission is to curate the meteorites and make them available to the scientific community, following protocols and standards comparable to those used for the U.S. Antarctic Meteorite Collection. XSPACE is a partnership between the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) and the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) division of NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). Funds are available through this partnership to support the processing and initial characterization of possible meteorite samples.

XSPACE is an official repository of the Nomenclature Committee of the Meteoritical Society. The collection is housed at the LPI in Houston, Texas, and currently consists mostly of donated meteorites. It also holds samples collected by a joint LPI-JSC team of the Cranfield meteorite that fell in Mississippi in 2022. In the future, XSPACE will become the official curation site for samples on loan from the University of Khartoum (UoK) collection of stones from the 2008 Almahata Sitta meteorite fall. Policies and procedures for requesting samples from XSPACE can be found on the XSPACE website.

New meteorites submitted to XSPACE for classification will be examined using optical microscopy and/or the LPI Phenom XL SEM, then transferred to ARES for additional preparation and analyses needed for classification. All sample preparation and analytical techniques will be the same as those established for the U.S. Antarctic Meteorite Collection at JSC. Proposed meteorite classifications will be written up and submitted to the Nomenclature Committee of the Meteoritical Society for approval and naming, after which the required minimum mass of the sample will be deposited in the XSPACE collection.

XSPACE welcomes partnerships with private dealers and collectors, donations, and interaction with the scientific community, particularly through future tracking and recovery of meteorite falls such as Cranfield and through accessioning of samples following scientific investigations.

If you are interested in having samples examined and characterized using these procedures, as well as applications to use the material currently in the collection for scientific investigations, please contact [email protected].

Combined elemental X-ray map of a polished section of the Northwest Africa (NWA) 1110 olivine-phyric shergottite in the XSPACE collection.