[meteorite-list] The Apollo Moon Rock Collection

From: Steve Dunklee <steve.dunklee_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2011 11:36:27 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <539399.36843.qm_at_web113916.mail.gq1.yahoo.com>

Cheers! I agree completely with your post! Even if we went to the moon today and retrieved a ton of rocks. They would still not be Apollo moon rocks. When I first visited the space center in Houston I was upset there were no display of all the moon rocks. they have capsules, space suites,rockets,landers, and lots of other stuff. all very cool! But the rocks are what they went to the moon to bring back. I felt like "ok I'm looking at a pot of paint used by picasso" it doesnt paint the picture!
Steve Dunklee

--- On Mon, 6/27/11, Carl Agee <agee at unm.edu> wrote:

> From: Carl Agee <agee at unm.edu>
> Subject: [meteorite-list] The Apollo Moon Rock Collection
> To: meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
> Date: Monday, June 27, 2011, 5:24 PM
> Having been in charge of the Apollo
> Collection as well as the other
> collections at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) from
> 1998-2002, here is
> my take on this discussion. One of the main goals of
> curation at JSC
> is preserving the collection for posterity and for future
> study with
> instruments not yet imagined or by scientists not yet born.
> The Moon
> rocks are treated like a national treasure. As many of you
> may know,
> the curation protocols at JSC are the "gold standard" for
> extraterrestrial sample handling. For example, the
> collection is kept
> in high purity nitrogen, only materials restricted to of
> short list of
> aluminum, stainless steel, and Teflon are allow to touch
> the samples.
> The curation facility was built as a clean lab with
> positive air
> pressure, airlocks, and is operated by a highly trained
> staff. The
> Lunar Vault is built to withstand hurricanes, tornadoes,
> and floods --
> and just to be on the safe side NASA has placed 15% of the
> collection
> at White Sands Test Facility, a few miles outside Las
> Cruces, New
> Mexico, locked away for safe keeping just in case of a
> catastrophic
> loss of the Lunar Lab in Houston. When people think about
> what a Mars
> Sample Return Lab design might look like, the first place
> they start
> from is the Lunar Sample Lab.
> Clearly, JSC does a fabulous job of handling, curating, and
> keeping
> the lunar samples safe, there is no museum or private
> collector in the
> world that comes close to Lunar Lab quality. However, the
> one thing
> that I think is missing from this facility is an equally
> spectacular
> public outreach component. Sure, the public can look at a
> few Moon
> rocks at museum displays here and there nationwide, but
> very few
> people ever get the privilege of being a visitor at the
> Lunar Lab. It
> is NOT open to the public. I think NASA, and JSC in
> particular, could
> enhance its image and boost public excitement and support
> for
> astromaterials research by somehow giving better public
> access to view
> these crown jewels in their laboratory setting.
> You may have guessed already that I'm not a big proponent
> of selling
> off the Moon Rocks to fund NASA missions, as a few people
> on the list
> have proposed. Even if Americans thought this was a good
> idea, I am
> pretty sure we would come up a few billion dollars short to
> do
> anything like a decent robotic Mars Sample Return.
> Furthermore, I
> doubt if many Americans would be in favor of cutting up
> pieces of the
> Declaration of Indepence or chunks of the Liberty Bell to
> sell as high
> priced souvenirs, or sell off tracts of Yellowstone Park to
> reduce our
> nation's debt. But I do think the Lunar Collection could be
> opened up
> to the public in away that would be beneficial to everyone,
> not the
> least to NASA itself.
> Carl Agee
> --
> Carl B. Agee
> Director and Curator, Institute of Meteoritics
> Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences
> MSC03 2050
> University of New Mexico
> Albuquerque NM 87131-1126
> Tel: (505) 750-7172
> Fax: (505) 277-3577
> Email: agee at unm.edu
> http://epswww.unm.edu/iom/pers/agee.html
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Received on Mon 27 Jun 2011 02:36:27 PM PDT

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