Tuesday, July 08, 2008

What Ever Happened to the Apollo Moon Rocks?

Barry sends in an article from the Times if not pressing, is interesting and thought provoking. The question is, what is the present status of the Luna samples brought back by the Apollo astronauts. Since Apollo 11 landed July 20 1969, Apollo crews brought back over 800 pounds of Moon rocks and soil. Far from laying fallow for the past 39 years, this material has been the focus of constant scientific scrutiny. The samples are divided into 2,200 samples. Each are numbered and sorted by expedition starting with Apollo 11’s historic mission in 1969 and ending with Apollo 17 in December 1972. Each sample is kept in nitrogen-filled boxes in a stainless steel vault on the second floor of the Lunar Sample Laboratory Facility. A 14,000-square-foot repository at the Johnson Space Center. Each time any one of the samples are moved they are transferred to other parts of the lab in airlocks. Technicians who prepare small pieces of each sample for shipments have to use glove boxes containing sterile tools and containers. Each year an independent peer review panel evaluates new research proposals, and curators mail out about 400 lunar samples to 40 to 50 scientists worldwide. Almost all are less than one gram in size. Even these are considered loans.

For the complete article in the New York Times about the ongoing research on Luna material, click here

1 comment:

wolfkahn said...

One of the samples is available for public viewing at the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio. I've seen it a few times - it's very cool for a plain looking rock.