The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft returned the first direct samples from the surface of a primitive C-type asteroid, Ryugu, on December 6, 2020. Under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between JAXA and NASA, NASA will receive ~500mg of Ryugu regolith, or 10% of the total mass of sample returned by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft in December 2021. The Astromaterial Curation Division at NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, is the location anticipating the transfer of this sample.
All curation-specific examination and documentation activities related to Ryugu samples will be conducted in a dedicated Hayabusa2 sample cleanroom. The construction of the Hayabusa2 cleanroom has been completed at JSC, where all of the Apollo Lunar rocks and NASA robotic sample return missions samples have been curated.
The NASA Hayabusa2 cleanroom (ISO 5 standard) was designed to protect the samples from organic contamination and to prevent alteration by thermal excursions and interaction with water. Similar to the JAXA curation facility, the Ryugu sample at NASA will be processed in a specially designed globebox, and stored in an inert environment with minimal exposure to contamination by particles and outgassing materials.
Keiko Nakamura-Messenger（NASA JSC）