Apollo 17 ANGSA Workshop

Apollo 17 ANGSA Workshop

The Apollo 17 ANGSA (Apollo Next Generation Sample Analysis Initiative) Workshop was held as a hybrid meeting on October 26–28, 2022 at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI). The workshop was motivated by the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 17 mission to the Taurus Littrow Valley and the release of new ANGSA results on previous unopened Apollo 17 samples.

The workshop was convened by Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison “Jack” Schmitt and ANGSA co-lead scientist Charles “Chip” Shearer. Complementary to many celebrations in 2022 of the monumental achievements of the Apollo 17 mission, this was the scientific celebration of its accomplishments. Another focus of the workshop was the lessons learned from Apollo 17 and ANGSA that are directly applicable to the Artemis program to return to the Moon. The Science Organizing Committee (N. Curran, L. Gaddis, C. Neal, N. Petro, J. Stopar, A. Fagan, J. Gross, S. Simon, R. Klima, S. Lawrence, and G. Schmidt) provided guidance for the workshop sessions, logistics, and travel. A hybrid team meeting for the ANGSA initiative took place at the LPI earlier in the week, on October 24–25.

Both the workshop and the ANGSA team meeting embraced the participation of early career planetary scientists, with a large number participating as either onsite or virtual contributors. The early career participants included undergraduate students, graduate students, and post-docs. Support for travel to the workshop for early career scientists and engineers was kindly provided by the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) and the Larry Taylor Travel Award administered by the LPI and the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group.

Astronaut Jack Schmitt with early career workshop participants

Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison “Jack” Schmitt poses with early career participants during the Apollo 17 ANGSA workshop held at the LPI last October. Credit: Lunar and Planetary Institute.

The workshop had 249 registrants, with 189 attending the workshop in person. Registrants included scientists, engineers, administrators, and planners for the Artemis program. A total of 53 oral and poster presentations were given during the workshop. Overarching themes included the Apollo 17 and ANGSA science that enables Artemis; stratigraphy, triggers, and dynamics of lunar landslide deposits; new views of the ANGSA samples and potential for Artemis; exploring lunar volatiles using new samples and new approaches; advanced curation and preliminary examination of ANGSA samples and implications for Artemis; and deciphering the lunar crust with newly examined lunar samples from ANGSA and meteorites.

In addition to discussions that focused on presentations within these themes, substantial topical discussions were held. These topical discussions focused on a number of questions:

  • What have we learned from Apollo 17 and ANGSA that informs surface operations during Artemis?
  • How do Apollo 17 regolith studies influence surface measurements, collection, and analysis of regolith in the future?
  • Lunar volatiles: What have we learned from sample studies?
  • How are these studies applicable to Artemis?
  • What curation lessons learned have implications for preparing for Artemis?
  • What do the Apollo samples tell us about the interior of the Moon?
  • How does this influence sample collection during Artemis?

The presentations and discussions focused on a new perspective of the Apollo 17 mission through the ANGSA initiative and the application of this new viewpoint to the future exploration of the Moon through Artemis.

Evenings and session breaks were filled with posters, science discussions, and video presentations of The Last Steps (Ben Feist) and “New” Apollo Mission to Taurus Littrow: Bridging Apollo and Artemis (Jack Schmitt, Chip Shearer, Clive Neal). The workshop presentations, images, videos, and updates on ANGSA activities may be viewed at the ANGSA website: https://www.lpi.usra.edu/ANGSA/. Links to the workshop program and abstracts can be found at the workshop website: https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/ANGSAApollo17_2022/.

— Summary provided by Chip Shearer, University of New Mexico