In early 2004, ASU geoscience professor Phillip Christensen was in a NASA press conference on the recent Mars Rovers, when he casually commented how much easier collecting rock specimens would be in the locals would just pick them up and mail them to him. The rocks started arriving at ASU even before he got back to campus.
Well, five years later, the 10,000th rock arrived at ASU as part of the Rocks Around the World program [right, the 10,000th rock sent to the Rock Around the World program is a fist-size piece of weathered quartz from Nepal. Credit, ASU]
Rocks continue to arrive at the rate of 50-100 per month. Each rock is , numbered, cleaned and photographed, then cooked in an oven for 8 hours to drive off moisture before it is run through an infrared spectrometer. They are permanently archived in a special storage space.
[thanks to the folks at ASU for passing this on]