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Abstract

We used a field excursion to the West Clearwater Lake Impact structure as an opportunity to test factors that contribute to the decisions a remote field team (for example, astronauts conducting extravehicular activities (EVA) on planetary surfaces) makes while collecting samples for return to Earth. We found that detailed background on the analytical purpose of the samples, provided to the field team, enables them to identify and collect samples that meet specific analytical objectives. However, such samples are not always identifiable during field reconnaissance activities, and may only be recognized after outcrop characterization and interpretation by crew and/or science team members. We therefore recommend that specific time be allocated in astronaut timeline planning to collect specialized samples, that this time follow human or robotic reconnaissance of the geologic setting, and that crew member training should include exposure to the laboratory techniques and analyses that will be used on the samples upon their return to terrestrial laboratories.