Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science


The mission of Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division,
or ARES, is to combine scientific and engineering expertise in order
to advance human space exploration, to integrate terrestrial and planetary
research, and to promote successful space missions by mitigating risk.
Our people are the world’s leading sample scientists and we curate the
most extensive collection of extraterrestrial materials on Earth.


The mission of Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division,
or ARES, is to combine scientific and engineering expertise in order
to advance human space exploration, to integrate terrestrial and planetary
research, and to promote successful space missions by mitigating risk.
Our people are the world’s leading sample scientists and we curate the
most extensive collection of extraterrestrial materials on Earth.

ARES Highlights

Mars Curiosity Rover


The rover’s goals include an investigation of the Martian climate and geology along with assessing whether the selected field site inside Gale has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

Learn more about Curiosity >

OSIRIS-REx


The spacecraft will rendezvous with the near-Earth Asteroid Bennu in 2020. It will collect material from the surface of the asteroid via a robotic arm and is planned to return with the samples to Earth in 2023.

Learn more about OSIRIS-REx >

ISRU & Simulants


The farther humans go into deep space, the more important it will be to generate their own products with local materials, a practice called in-situ resource utilization (ISRU).

Learn more about ISRU & Simulants >

In Your Classroom

Lunar and Meteorite Sample Disk Program (K-12)


Each Meteorite Sample Disk contains six different types of Meteorite samples. Each Lunar Sample Disk contains three Lunar rock and three Lunar soil (regolith) samples collected by the Apollo astronauts.

Learn more about LMDP >

University Petrographic Thin Section Program


Twelve polished thin sections of samples from either the Lunar or Meteorite collections are provided to colleges and universities that offer curriculums in the geosciences.

Learn more about Thin Sections >

Webinars


Our interactive webinars are designed to connect educator-led student groups in formal and/or informal classroom environments with Subject Matter Experts to generate interest, excitement, and awareness of NASA science.

Learn more about Webinars >

Expedition Earth & Beyond


This program is designed to motivate middle and high school students to develop a greater interest in Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology (STEM) related subjects.

Learn more about EEAB >

The Latest

The Latest


Color photograph of Apollo 16 Sample 60639, 0. It is a breccia with a glass coating on one side. The other side is peppered with micrometeorite craters, exposing clasts of mare basalt and anorthosite. Credit: NASA.

Astromaterials Newsletter Vol. 2 No. 1 is now available


February 20, 2020


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 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.


Picture of the 3D model of Apollo 12 lunar sample 12038. During the second EVA, Astronauts Charles 'Pete' Conrad and Alan Bean collected this Moon rock along the edge of Bench Crater. Credit: NASA ARES.

Astromaterials 3D Celebrates Apollo 12


November 19, 2019


The mission of the Astromaterials 3D project is to make more accessible NASA’s Apollo Lunar Sample and Antarctic Meteorite collections, and to share their wondrous cosmochemical stories through interactive, high-resolution, research-grade 3D models.

US National Space Council Announces Update to the USG ODMSP


December 10, 2019


The U.S. National Space Council announced the update to the U.S. Government Orbital Debris Mitigation Standard Practices.
Originally published in 2001, this 2019 update to the ODMSP (required by SPD-3) includes improvements to the original objectives as well as clarification and additional standard practices for certain classes of space operations. It provides a reference to promote efficient and effective space safety practices for other domestic and international operators. The ODPO played a key role in leading an interagency working group to update the ODMSP.

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