Notice of China National Space Administration on the Distribution of Procedures for Requesting Lunar Samples

To all units concerned:

The Procedures for Requesting Lunar Samples is approved and adopted. Official versions are effective immediately.

  China National Space Administration

  December 17, 2020

  Procedures for Requesting Lunar Samples

  Chapter 1 General Provisions

Article 1 These Procedures are established for the proper storage, management and usage of lunar samples for scientific research and social benefits.

Article 2 The lunar samples refer to the materials collected on and below the surface of the Moon through China's lunar exploration program and the lunar materials obtained by China National Space Administration (CNSA) through other means.

Article 3 The present Procedures shall be applicable to the overall process of unsealing, classification, preparation, documentation, storage, application, distribution, transportation, use, return, dispositioning, management of information, and documentation of results.

  Chapter 2 Responsibilities

Article 4 China National Space Administration is the management authority of lunar samples, with main responsibilities that include:

(1) Formulating policies and regulations for the management of lunar samples;

(2) Supervising application and commercialization of scientific research achievements; and

(3) International cooperation on lunar sample studies.

Article 5 CNSA's Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Center (hereinafter referred to as LESEC) has been entrusted to carry out the management of lunar samples, with main responsibilities including:

(1) Reviewing Standards and Operating Procedures formulated by the curatorial agencies;

(2) Establishing an expert committee on lunar samples;

(3) Reviewing applications for requesting lunar samples;

(4) Supervising and coordinating the process of unsealing, classification, preparation, documentation, storage, application, distribution, transportation, use, return, dispositioning, management of information, and documentation of results.;

(5) Publishing dynamic information on lunar samples on a regular basis through data information platform; and

(6) Implementing the monitoring of science returns and its applications, and preparing and publishing a list of publications and achievements.

Article 6 The lunar samples are stored at CNSA and its designated curatorial agencies. The main curatorial agency is the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a backup curatorial agency is also established.

The curatorial agencies, under the supervision of CNSA and specific guidance of LESEC, shall provide information, from preliminary examination, on lunar samples in a timely manner, and report the curation and distribution of lunar samples to LESEC on a regular basis. Any emergency case such as lunar sample contamination and damage shall be reported to LESEC immediately.

The curatorial agencies shall adopt the following procedures for sample handling.

Article 7 The main responsibilities of the main curatorial agency include:

(1) Formulating standards and Operating Procedures related to lunar samples;

(2) Implementing the unsealing, classification, preparation, documentation, and storage of lunar samples;

(3) Implementing the distribution, return and dispositioning of lunar samples in accordance with the procedures;

(4) Building and maintaining the lunar sample storage facilities, to make sure that these facilities have the capability to carry out the necessary work; and

(5) Establishing a lunar sample curation catalog, thus to secure the information safety of the lunar samples.

Article 8 The main responsibilities of the backup curatorial agency include:

(1) Participating in the formulation of the standards and operating procedures related to lunar samples;

(2) Building and maintaining storage facilities; and

(3) Establishing a lunar sample information catalog to guarantee the security of lunar samples stored.

Article 9 Requesting of lunar samples shall be made by a legal person (hereinafter referred to as the requesting subject), and the main responsibilities of the requesting subject shall include:

(1) Conducting scientific research or socially beneficial activities in accordance with the relevant content of approval and agreement;

(2) Responsible for the security of the lunar samples, and bearing responsibilities for their damage, contamination, or loss due to operational and storage negligence;

(3) A dedicated person shall be appointed to be responsible for the safe use of the sample. Clear instructions shall be given to the person or persons responsible for sample handling; and

(4) Reporting in the scientific research results of lunar samples to LESEC.

  Chapter 3 Classification, Handling and Information Release

Article 10 According to basic uses, lunar samples are divided into four types in principle: permanently stored samples, permanently stored backup samples, research samples, and samples for public beneficial activities, of which permanently stored samples and permanently stored backup samples are sealed and maintained in a pristine state as original samples, research samples are used for scientific investigation and analysis, and the samples for public beneficial activities are used for activities such as exhibition, public outreach, and education.

Article 11 The main curatorial agency shall receive and keep the lunar samples for a period of not more than six months, according to different basic uses, to conduct preliminary sample handing and to form a set of relevant information.

Article 12 After the end of the above (initial) sample handling period, LESEC will publish lunar sample information to the public through the data information platform, and update the sample information dynamically according to the status of sample requests.

  Chapter 4 Request and Distribution

Article 13 Request refers to the use of lunar samples for scientific research (non-destructive and destructive experiments) and public beneficial activities (education, exhibition, etc.) and the return of samples at an agreed time after the completion of such activities.

Article 14 The requesting subject shall be able to ensure the safety and storage of the sample, and the requesting subject that will conduct the sample research shall have the corresponding investigation competence as being proposed.

Article 15 The requesting subject shall submit a request application form for lunar samples on the data information platform (see Annexes 1 and 2).

Article 16 LESEC will conduct a centralized review of request applications at the end of each quarter and provide timely feedback on the results of the review to the requesting subjects. LESEC will sign a Lunar Sample Loan Agreement (see Annex 3) with the requesting subject, and the main curatorial agency will allocate the sample according to the procedures.

Article 17 The term for request of a research sample shall, in principle, not exceed one year. If it is absolutely necessary, the request can be renewed once for a period not exceeding six months. The requesting subject shall submit an application for renewal to LESEC at least thirty days before the expiration of the request.

Article 18 In view of the precious nature of lunar samples, the requested research samples shall be used sparingly. Destructive experiments on research samples shall be reduced to the minimum and demonstrated and explained in detail in the research plan.

Article 19 The term for requesting of sample for public beneficial activities generally does not exceed two months. If it is really necessary, a request can be renewed once for a period not exceeding one month. The requesting subject shall submit an application for renewal to LESEC fifteen days before the expiration.

Article 20 The main curatorial agency shall complete the preparation and distribution of the corresponding sample within thirty days in accordance with the written notice of LESEC, the approved request application form and the signed Lunar Sample Loan Agreement, and give feedback to LESEC.

  Chapter 5 Use and Return

Article 21 The requesting subject shall record the entire use of lunar sample in writing, and the destructive experiments must be recorded in video, so as to ensure the traceability of the use of sample and facilitate the supervision, return and redistribution of the lunar sample.

Article 22 The requesting subject is subject to inspection by LESEC on the use of lunar samples.

Article 23 The requesting subject has no right to provide the lunar sample to a third party. Experiments, testing and other related work to be conducted by a third party shall be explained in the original request application form by the requesting subject, and must be approved before implementation.

Article 24 If the requesting subject violates the provisions of the request agreement during the use of lunar sample, LESEC shall have the right to terminate the agreement in advance and request the requesting subject to return the sample immediately.

Article 25 Within five working days after the expiration of the request, the requesting subject shall submit a return application form (see Annex 4) to the main curatorial agency in a timely manner, with the lunar sample, loan agreement and necessary documents attached. The sample use record in the return application form shall be filled in clearly and completely, and video record of relevant destructive experiments (including complete destruction without any remaining material) shall be provided. The requested sample shall be returned in full, and for any sample that cannot be returned completely due to destructive experiments, the remaining part shall be returned.

Article 26 The main curatorial agency shall organize the verification of the integrity of the items returned after receiving the return application form. In case of any missing items, the requesting subject shall make supplementary submission within the specified period. The main curatorial agency will inspect the returned lunar sample, form an inspection opinion, and report to LESEC. LESEC will organize a review by the committee of experts as appropriate and draw a conclusion. If the returned sample meets the requirements, the main curatorial agency shall be responsible for the registration, storage, and other related work. If the returned sample does not meet the requirements, the main curatorial agency shall be responsible for the treatment in accordance with the relevant provisions of Lunar Sample Loan Agreement.

  Chapter 6 Publication of Scientific Results

Article 27 Publication of papers, academic exchanges and other activities that use the research achievements of lunar sample analysis shall clearly identify the serial number of the lunar sample and indicate that "Lunar Sample Provided by CNSA".

Article 28 Publication of papers and declaration of intellectual property that derived from the usage of lunar samples shall be reported through the data information platform within three months and will be collected and published by LESEC to promote the sharing of scientific research results from the analysis of lunar samples.

Article 29 LESEC organizes a committee of experts to evaluate the scientific research achievements of lunar sample analysis on a regular basis, and to promote the transformation and application of scientific and technological achievements.

Article 30 Commercial activities to be conducted using lunar samples or relevant scientific research achievements and products by a requesting subject shall be subject to written approval by LESEC and follow the Lunar Sample Loan Agreement.

  Chapter 7 Security Management

Article 31 The requesting subject shall possess the corresponding security assurance and management conditions, to ensure that the lunar sample is secure and free from contamination.

Article 32 If a lunar sample is lost, the requesting subject shall notify the local police immediately and report to LESEC. In case of contamination, damage, etc., the requesting subject shall submit a written explanation within 24 hours. In serious cases, LESEC will request CNSA and other relevant authorities to investigate and pressing legal charges in accordance with the law.

  Chapter 8 International Cooperation

Article 33 The management and use of lunar samples shall comply with the relevant international conventions that the People's Republic of China has established or adopted.

Article 34 CNSA encourages lunar sample-based joint international research, and supports the international sharing of science results.

Article 35 LESEC shall organize joint research, exchanges, exhibition, and goodwill gifts related to lunar samples, in accordance with the relevant agreements and approvals of CNSA.

  Chapter 9 Supplementary Articles

Article 36 Whoever violates the provisions of the present Procedure shall be subject to investigation by CNSA and other authorities for legal responsibility.

Article 37 The present Procedure shall come into force as of the date of publication, and CNSA shall be responsible for its interpretation.


Annex 1 Request Application Form of Research Samples 

Annex 2 Request Application Form of Samples for Public Beneficial Activities 

Annex 3 Lunar Sample Loan Agreement

Annex 4 Sample Return Application Form