Recently in the Missions, Hardware, Software, & Sensors Category


NASA has issued an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for proposals about science instruments that could be carried aboard a future mission to Jupiter's moon Europa. Selected instruments could address fundamental questions about the icy moon and the search for life beyond Earth.

A new study from Western University explores the possibility that Earth's earliest life forms may have been cultivated by a meteorite impact event.

Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) may constitute a large fraction of the matter in the Universe.

A novel, hybrid part-human, part-machine visual system that uses a simple mobile phone camera has been developed to search for evidence of past or present life in planetary analogue sites on Earth. Patrick McGuire from the Freie Universitaet, Berlin, will present results from this Cyborg Astrobiologist at the European Planetary Science Congress in London on Monday 9th September.

When the ROSES-2013 omnibus solicitation was released, the Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP) program included a notice at the top that said in part "NASA may solicit research proposals under this program..." and the due dates were listed as "TBD." We regret to inform proposers that ASTEP will not be solicited in ROSES-13 due to a lack of funding.

The Instrument Concepts for Europa Exploration (ICEE) Program supports the advanced development of spacecraft-based instruments for Europa exploration. The goal of the program is to mature and reduce the technical risk of instruments for a potential future Europa mission to the point where they may be proposed in response to a future flight announcement of opportunity (AO) without additional extensive technology development.

The Instrument Concepts for Europa Exploration (ICEE) Program supports the advanced development of spacecraft-based instruments for Europa exploration. The goal of the program is to mature and reduce the technical risk of instruments for a potential future Europa mission to the point where they may be proposed in response to a future flight announcement of opportunity (AO) without additional extensive technology development.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) invites scientists, technologists, and other qualified and interested individuals at U.S. institutions and elsewhere to apply for membership on the Science Definition Team (SDT) for the 2020 Mars science rover mission (hereafter Mars-2020). Mars-2020 is a strategic mission sponsored by NASA's Planetary Science Division, through the Mars Exploration Program, all of which are part of the Science Mission Directorate (SMD).

This mission will advance the scientific priorities detailed in the National Research Council's Planetary Science Decadal Survey, entitled "Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022," (the Decadal Survey is available at http://www.nap.edu ). Mars-2020 rover development and design will be largely based upon the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) architecture that successfully carried the Curiosity rover to the Martian surface on August 6, 2012 (UTC). The 2020 rover is intended to investigate an astrobiologically relevant ancient environment on Mars to decipher its geological processes and history, including the assessment of its past habitability and potential for preservation of biosignatures within accessible geologic materials.

Furthermore, because NASA is embarking on a long-term effort for eventual human exploration of Mars, the mission should provide an opportunity for contributed Human Exploration Mission Directorate (HEOMD) or Space Technology Program (STP) participation via payload elements aligned with their priorities and compatible with SMD priorities for Mars-2020 (e.g., MEPAG P-SAG report, posted June 2012 to MEPAG website: http://mepag.jpl.nasa.gov ).

The members of the Mars-2020 SDT will provide NASA with scientific assistance and direction during preliminary concept definition (Pre-Phase A) activities. Near-term activities of the SDT will include the establishment of baseline mission science objectives and a realistic scientific concept of surface operations; development of a strawman payload/instrument suite as proof of concept; and suggestions for threshold science objectives/measurements for a preferred mission viable within resource constraints provided by NASA Headquarters. The products developed by the SDT will be used to develop the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Announcement of Opportunity (AO) that will outline the primary science objectives of the baseline mission and the character of the payload-based investigations solicited under open competition via the AO. The SDT will be formed in January 2013, and disbanded after the work is complete approximately four months later.

This Program Element Appendix (PEA) solicits proposals for NASA-funded instrument investigations led by a U.S. Principal Investigator (PI) for the ESA JUICE mission. This amendment presents updated text for Appendix K, JUpiter ICy Moons Explorer Instrument, which adds additional text and requirements to Sections 5.1 and 5.2. The due date for proposals has not changed. The due date for proposals for the solicitation has not changed. The submission of an Experiment Interface Document - Part B (EID-B) is now required by October 8, 2012.

On or about September 5, 2012, this Amendment to the NASA Announcement of Opportunity "Second Stand Alone Missions of Opportunity (SALMON-2)" (NNH12ZDA006O) will be posted on the NASA research opportunity home page at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/.

Questions concerning Appendix K, JUpiter ICy Moons Explorer instrument, may be addressed to Dr. Curt Niebur, Planetary Science Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546. Email: curt.niebur@nasa.gov Telephone: (202) 358-0390.

The Maturation of Instruments for Solar System Exploration (MatISSE) Program supports the advanced development of spacecraft-based instruments that show promise for use in future planetary missions. The goal of the program is to develop and demonstrate planetary and astrobiology science instruments to the point where they may be proposed in response to future announcements of flight opportunity without additional extensive technology development (approximately TRL 6). The proposed instrument must address specific scientific objectives of likely future planetary science missions.

The MatISSE Program seeks proposals for development activities leading to instrument systems in support of the Science Mission Directorate's (SMD) Planetary Science Division. The objectives of the program are to develop new technologies that significantly improve instrument measurement capabilities for planetary science missions (such as Discovery, New Frontiers, Mars Exploration, and other planetary programs). It is the responsibility of the proposer to demonstrate how their proposed technology addresses significant scientific questions relevant to stated NASA goals and not for NASA to attempt to infer this.

This amendment presents final text for Appendix C.19, which replaces the previous version in its entirety. The name of this program has been changed from Astrobiology Science and Technology for Instrument Development, as it was at the time of release of ROSES in February 2012, to the Maturation of Instruments for Solar System Exploration.