Requesting Cosmic Dust Samples

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Requesting Cosmic Dust Samples

All sample requests should be emailed to

All requests for Cosmic Dust samples should probably be condensable into a one- or two-page letter, although informative attachments (e.g., copies of pages from related proposals, reprints of publications, flow diagrams for analyses) are welcome. There is no due date for Cosmic Dust sample requests, and requests are accepted on a year-round basis by emailing your request to the Curator. We encourage investigators to contact us in advance of submitting their sample requests if further information is desired.

Each request should:

  1. a. Provide detailed scientific justification for the proposed research and describe all analyses to be performed.

  2. b. For consortium studies, requests should list all members in the consortium and explain their roles.

  3. c. Refer to specific samples by their official identification numbers. Use the catalogs to view a description of the samples, and the inventory to check their availability before making your request.

  4. d. Include a description of the expected alteration or destruction of samples that will occur from the analyses. Destructive analyses are permitted but must be justified on the basis that the expected results are important enough to merit loss of material.

  5. e. Describe the desired method of mounting or containerizing the samples for shipment to the requestor. You may refer to the Sample Containers for Shipment of Allocated Dust Particles as a reference for defining your mounting requirements. Otherwise, you may contact the Cosmic Dust Curator for information on mounting options currently available.

Each sample request will be reviewed by the Curator and the Curation and Planning Team for Extraterrestrial Materials (CAPTEM)'s Cosmic Dust Subcommittee, a committee of scientists that advises NASA on matters related to the curation and allocation of extraterrestrial samples. The Curator will arrange for the required CAPTEM review and will inform investigators of the findings as rapidly as possible. All sample loans will be allocated for use within the scope of the research described in the request and for the use of the scientists listed in the request, although minor changes may be requested by contacting the Curator.