Extrasolar Planets

Establishment of the Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG)

By Keith Cowing
August 6, 2009

Dear Astrobiology Community member,

The Astrophysics Division of NASAs Science Mission Directorate is soliciting nominations for the Executive Committee of a newly established Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG).

The inaugural ExoPAG Chair will be Jim Kasting, a long-time member of the astrobiology community and the NAI. The ExoPAG will be responsible for soliciting and coordinating community input into the development and execution of NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program. Additional information and a link to a website with detailed information are provided in the attachment.

I am writing to encourage interested members of the astrobiology community to nominate colleagues or themselves to serve on the ExoPAG Executive Committee. The deadline for receipt of nominations is Sept. 4, 2009. See the attachment and website for nomination requirements and procedures.

With best wishes,

Carl B. Pilcher, Director
NASA Astrobiology Institute
NASA Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, CA 94035

To: Astrophysics and Exoplanetary Science Community

From: Astrophysics Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters

Date: 22 July 2009

Subject: Establishment of the Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG)

Dear Colleagues:

The Astrophysics Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is pleased to announce the
establishment an Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group, or ExoPAG. The ExoPAG
will be an open, interdisciplinary forum for gathering community input into NASA’s Exoplanet
Exploration Program (ExEP), and for conducting analyses in support of ExEP science objectives
and their implications for planning and prioritization of Program activities. The ExoPAG will
communicate its findings and the results of its analyses to NASA through the Agency’s formal
advisory structure in the form of reports to the Astrophysics Subcommittee of the NAC (NASA
Advisory Council) Science Committee.

To carry out its role, the ExoPAG will:

  • Articulate the key scientific drivers for exoplanet research;
  • Evaluate the expected capabilities of potential ExEP missions for achieving the science goals of the Program;
  • Regularly evaluate ExEP goals, objectives, investigations and required measurements on the basis of the widest possible community outreach;
  • Articulate focus areas for needed mission technologies; and
  • Identify related activities that enhance the ExEP mission portfolio such as ground-based observing, theory and modeling programs, and community engagement.

Further information about the structure and function of the ExoPAG can be found on the Web at
http://exep.jpl.nasa.gov/exep_exoPAG.cfm. The purpose of this open letter to the scientific
community is to solicit nominations for membership on the ExoPAG Executive Committee.

The ExoPAG will be led by a Chairperson drawn from the membership of the Astrophysics
Subcommittee. The inaugural ExoPAG Chair will be Prof. James F. Kasting of Penn State
University. Prof. Kasting will be supported in this role by an Executive Committee representing
the broad exoplanetary science community. Together, the ExoPAG Chair and Executive
Committee will be responsible for capturing and organizing community input, overseeing
ExoPAG analyses, reporting ExoPAG findings and inputs to the Astrophysics Subcommittee,
and keeping the scientific community apprised of ongoing activities and opportunities within
NASA’s ExEP. The ExoPAG Executive Committee will be selected to achieve a functional
balance among observers, theoreticians, instrumentation experts, and technologists, as well as a
scientific balance across the disciplines of astrophysics, exoplanetary and planetary science, and

Nominations for the ExoPAG Executive Committee should be submitted via email to the
address: HQ-ExoPAG@nasa.gov. Nominations must include both a cover letter and a one-page
CV summarizing the nominee’s relevant background. The cover letter should provide a
description of the nominee’s area of expertise and qualifications for service on the ExoPAG
Executive Committee. Self-nominations are welcome. The deadline for receipt of nominations
is 4 September 2009, with announcement of selections anticipated for early October 2009.
The first ExoPAG meeting is planned to be held in conjunction with the 215th AAS Meeting in
Washington, DC, January 2010. Travel and lodging expenses for the ExoPAG Chair and
Executive Committee members (only) will be paid by the ExEP, in accordance with NASA
regulations. Further details about the inaugural ExoPAG meeting will be posted on the ExoPAG
web site as the information becomes available.

We look forward to working with all of our stakeholders to develop a robust and compelling
Exoplanet Exploration Program.


Douglas Hudgins, NASA HQ
Exoplanet Exploration Program Scientist

Lia LaPiana, NASA HQ
ExoPlanet Exploration Program Executive

Jon Morse
Director, Astrophysics Division, NASA HQ

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.