They were collected decades ago, but nothing’s been done with them in ages. No, it’s not those boxes of stuff in your attic. We’re talking about moon rocks.
Back in 1972, astronauts on the Apollo 17 mission collected the rock samples; but NASA kept the samples sealed, in hopes of development of better research technology in the future. And that has now happened.
So now University of Tennessee professor Molly McCanta will be among a team of researchers analyzing the rocks, through NASA’s Apollo Next Generation Sample Analysis Program. The program is part of the 50th-anniversary celebration of the first moon landing in 1969.
McCanta will be working with researchers from the University of Massachusetts and the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. They’ll meet at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Texas to determine the optimal way to open and transport the samples. The research project is slated to begin next month and is expected to run for three years.