Advances in Small Particle Handling of Astromaterials in Preparation for OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa2: Initial DevelopmentsThe Astromaterials Acquisition and Curation office at NASA Johnson Space Center has established an Advanced Curation program that is tasked with developing procedures, technologies, and data sets necessary for the curation of future astromaterials collections as envisioned by NASA exploration goals. One particular objective of the Advanced Curation program is the development of new methods for the collection, storage, handling and characterization of small (less than 100 micrometer) particles. Astromaterials Curation currently maintains four small particle collections: Cosmic Dust that has been collected in Earth's stratosphere by ER2 and WB-57 aircraft, Comet 81P/Wild 2 dust returned by NASA's Stardust spacecraft, interstellar dust that was returned by Stardust, and asteroid Itokawa particles that were returned by the JAXA's Hayabusa spacecraft. NASA Curation is currently preparing for the anticipated return of two new astromaterials collections - asteroid Ryugu regolith to be collected by Hayabusa2 spacecraft in 2021 (samples will be provided by JAXA as part of an international agreement), and asteroid Bennu regolith to be collected by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and returned in 2023. A substantial portion of these returned samples are expected to consist of small particle components, and mission requirements necessitate the development of new processing tools and methods in order to maximize the scientific yield from these valuable acquisitions. Here we describe initial progress towards the development of applicable sample handling methods for the successful curation of future small particle collections.
Snead, C. J. (Jacobs Technology, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
McCubbin, F. M. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Nakamura-Messenger, K. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Righter, K. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)