Dr. Charles K. Shearer
Dr. Charles (Chip) Shearer examines planetary materials from differentiated bodies within the inner solar system using a wide range of analytical and experimental approaches. He integrates fundamental petrologic and mineralogical observation with radiogenic isotopes, microscale trace element, stable isotope, and redox state geochemistry, and high T and P experiments to reconstruct the history of planetary bodies, conditions under which they formed and evolved, and the origin, evolution, and interactions among their volatile reservoirs. Methods used in making these measurements include EPMA, TIMS, SIMS, and XANES. These sample data and interpretations are placed within the context of remotely sensed orbital observation, geophysical measurements, and thermodynamic models to better understand how planetary bodies and the Solar System work and evolve.
Dr. Shearer has long been an advocate of examining uniquely collected and curated samples returned by the Apollo program. Many of these samples have never been studied. His current work focuses upon coordinating and carrying out science activities tied to the new Apollo Next Generation Sample Analysis initiative (ANGSA). As one of the lead scientists for ANGSA, he is assisting in coordinating activities involving the Johnson Space Center, other NASA centers, the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), universities, national labs, and international partners. Part of his current visiting scientist role at the LPI is to enable both the processing and preliminary examination of these samples and the integration of ANGSA consortium studies. His science focus in ANGSA is to examine the Apollo 17 double drive tube that was stored in a Core Sample Vacuum Container (CSVC) to unlock the secrets of lunar volatile reservoirs, establish potential sampling and utilization protocols for these reservoirs during Artemis Program activities, and understand the triggers and dynamics of lunar landslide deposits.
Dr. Shearer has been actively involved in mission planning including the MoonRise sample return mission from SPA, the ISOCHRON mission to sample and return some of the youngest lunar volcanics, the Moondiver mission to explore a series of lunar lava flows with a vertical rover, and alternative mission architectures for returning samples from planetary surfaces. He has been an advocate of the importance of sample return in future human missions to planetary surfaces and the integration of sample return capabilities within human exploration architectures. He was chair of the Lunar Analysis Planning Group (LEAG), chair of the Curation and Analysis Planning Group for Extraterrestrial Materials (CAPTEM), chair for numerous Mars sample return working groups, and organizer for numerous LPI sponsored initiatives and workshops (e.g., New Views of the Moon 1 and 2; planetary differentiation; Ground truth for Mars, Science Payoff from a Mars Sample Return Mission; A Wet or Dry Moon; Exploring the interior of Mars; Martian Sulfates).