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European Curation of Astromaterials Returned from the Exploration of Space (EURO-CARES)
Start date: Jan 1, 2015, End date: Dec 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Sample return missions (SRMs) are a critical next step in our exploration of the Solar System and are identified as strategic missions by international space agencies. Europe has a very strong legacy in the curation and research of precious extraterrestrial materials. To maintain European leadership and ensure high-level involvement in future SRMs, a dedicated European Sample Curation Facility (ESCF) to receive and curate returned samples from the Moon, asteroids and Mars, is of critical importance.Euro-CARES will focus on 5 key themes for developing a ESCF:o Planetary Protection- protocols and methods for future SRMso Instrumentation and Analytical Methods- in the fields of cosmo/geochemistry and bioscienceso Facilities and Infrastructures- to curate sensitive extraterrestrial or biological materialso Analogue Materials- that are most appropriate and can be used in ‘end to end’ SRM planningo Portable Receiving Technologies- used to move samples whilst retaining scientific integrity and bio-containment (for Mars samples)Using the 5 key themes Euro-CARES will:1) Evaluate and critically assess the state of the art within Europe and internationally to identify critical requirements for the ESCF2) Determine and verify European readiness levels to identify where investment is required and opportunities for European leadership in scientific and engineering fields related to curating extraterrestrial samples3) Engage with scientific, industrial, governmental and public stakeholders through community workshops, conferences, publications and educational opportunities4) Deliver recommendations and roadmaps defining the steps necessary to deliver a ESCF to ensure high-level involvement in future ESA and international SRMsEuro-CARES comprises a team of scientists and engineers from across Europe with internationally recognised expertise in astrobiology, biosciences, cosmo/geochemistry, extraterrestrial sample curation, planetary protection and space exploration.
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