Microparticle Impact Collections

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Microparticle Impact Collections

A principal goal of NASA is to further detailed research into the nature of particulates from extraterrestrial sources, and the contamination of these from spacecraft materials. Towards this goal, we have carefully selected a large variety of space-exposed materials from several satellites containing impact features, and returned them to the Curatorial Facility at the Johnson Space Center (JSC). These satellites are the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF), Solar Maximum Satellite, Surveyor III Spacecraft, the European Recoverable Carrier (EURECA), the Trek blanket from the MIR space Station, thermal blankets from the Hubble Wide-Field Planetary Camera. These surfaces thereby join lunar samples, Antarctic meteorites, and interplanetary dust as an additional source of extraterrestrial and space debris materials for scientific study. In addition, investigators wishing to characterize the type and amount of spacecraft debris will find materials of interest that can be utilized to address these goals.

All selected returned space-exposed, microparticle-bearing surfaces have been stored in the Microparticle Impact Curation Laboratory (MIC Lab). The MIC Lab is a dedicated facility for the storage and preliminary examination of microparticle-bearing surfaces, and occupies a class 10,000 clean room. The cleanliness of this facility thus exceeds that provided by the class 100,000 clean room used to house the space hardware during integration and deintegration activities.

The following tables list surfaces received at JSC for curation by February, 2016, and which are available for allocation and examination. We expect that more materials will be added to the curated materials list as time progresses.