Astromaterials Newsletter – Volume 1 No. 1 March 2019
Francis McCubbin, Astromaterials Curator
Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Astromaterials Newsletter! The Astromaterials Newsletter is a bi-annual publication produced by the Astromaterials Acquisition and Curation Office at NASA Johnson Space Center to inform the sample science community about updates to our policies, collections, and available samples. In particular, the Astromaterials Newsletter will be our new and exclusive mechanism for announcing new samples or new sample opportunities available to the community across all of our collections.
Beginning in the fall of 2019, the Astromaterials Newsletter will be published on the same cadence as the Antarctic Meteorite Newsletter. The establishment of the Astromaterials Newsletter has enabled several important policy changes to sample announcements, sample requests, and sample allocation as outlined below:
1. The Astromaterials Newsletter will be the only mechanism by which new samples or targets of opportunity are announced and made available to the scientific community for PI-led research. New samples or new targets of opportunity must appear in the Newsletter before they are listed on JSC websites, announced at meetings, or discussed with individual members of the scientific community. This policy change is designed to establish a fair process by which everyone in the community has an equal opportunity to know what we have available in our collections for study.
2. There will be an 8-week "cooling off" period for samples announced in the Astromaterials Newsletter from collections that have rolling request deadlines (i.e., Stardust, Hayabusa, Cosmic Dust, Genesis, and Microparticle Impacts) or specially designated samples that are of high importance and limited mass. Requests for these materials shall not be made within the first 8-weeks of being announced to allow sufficient time for the scientific community to self-organize into consortia to study these samples. This practice is designed to favor the scientific quality of a consortium rather than the speed with which it forms.
3. Although the cadence of the Astromaterials Newsletter will be on a bi-annual basis, exceptions to this schedule will be allowed for time-sensitive opportunities through off-schedule publication of an Astromaterials Newsletter Special Issue.
In total, the primary aim of the Astromaterials Newsletter is to maximize the science returns from our exiting collections through better communication and advertisement of sample availability to the scientific community. Additionally, we want to establish a fair and transparent process by which the community receives information about available samples across all of our collections. This has been exemplified by the Antarctic Meteorite Newsletter, so we have adopted this same structure for the Astromaterials Newsletter. Our initial distribution will consist of all current and former sample PI's for which we have updated email addresses, but we also invite any interested sample scientists to subscribe to the Astromaterials Newsletter.
Thank you for reading the Astromaterials News section of the Astromaterials Newsletter, and I look forward to sharing more about our wonderful collections in subsequent issues.