Our mission is to work with NASA to protect, preserve, and distribute Moon, Mars, and interplanetary space samples to support solar system exploration. Our activities encompass Apollo Lunar sample, Antarctic meteorite, Stardust, Genesis, and cosmic dust sample curation. To ensure availability of pristine samples for the research community, our highly skilled scientists and technicians take receipt, catalog, store, manipulate, allocate, ship, receive, and perform configuration management functions for the JSC astromaterial sample collection. We are on the forefront of new methods and technologies for advanced curation including cold curation and planning for acquiring and handling samples in challenging environments such as near Earth asteroids, the Moon, and Mars.
Our scientists guide International Space Station (ISS) astronauts to produce scientific photography and enhance the imagery’s educational impact. From the ISS, astronauts have a unique vantage point to document Earth’s dynamic environment including its geology, meteorology, geography, oceanography, and ecology. ISS-generated images and those taken from other on-orbit satellites give primary data of the state of the Earth. We use images taken from the ISS and download, catalog, and place them on a public website at http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov.
The near-Earth space environment is cluttered with manmade orbital debris and naturally occurring meteoroid particles. To help prevent orbital debris impacts to manned spacecraft and to people and objects on the ground, we provide a comprehensive model of the Earth’s orbital debris environment, ORDEM, for spacecraft impact risk assessments. By using ground-based telescopes and radars, we study and characterize the debris environment with optical and radar methods. We also perform critical end-of-lifetime predictions for NASA-launched assets and provide ground-impact footprints and risk assessments for orbital object reentry and impact.