Final Text for Europa Instrument Investigation released as Appendix O of SALMON-2 AO via Amendment 8


NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is releasing the final text for complete PI-led instrument investigations for a Europa mission as Appendix O of the Second Stand Alone Missions of Opportunity Notice (SALMON-2) via Amendment 8. The term "complete" encompasses investigation phases from project initiation, through instrument development and science operations, to scientific analysis of space based data. It is anticipated that approximately 20 proposals will be selected for seven-month, $1.25M (FY 2015) concept studies and development. At the conclusion of these studies, NASA may select approximately eight of the instrument investigations to complete Phase A and subsequent mission phases.

Europa instrument investigations must address NASA’s planetary science objectives as described in 2014 NASA Strategic Plan and the 2014 NASA Science Plan (available at http://science.nasa.gov/about-us/science-strategy/). In addition, the investigations must focus on Europa and address the science and/or reconnaissance objectives for Europa exploration.  Instrument investigations relevant to both of these areas are welcome. The science goals for Europa exploration as provided in the Decadal Survey in priority order are:

1.   Characterize the extent of the ocean and its relation to the deeper interior;

2.   Characterize the ice shell and any subsurface water, including their heterogeneity, and the nature of surface-ice-ocean exchange;

3.   Determine global surface compositions and chemistry, especially as related to habitability;

4.   Understand the formation of surface features, including sites of recent or current activity, and identify and characterize candidate sites for future in situ exploration;

5.   Understand Europa’s space environment and interaction with the magnetosphere.

While characterizing landing sites for future in situ exploration is the fourth scientific priority in the Planetary Decadal Survey, NASA places high programmatic priority on this goal to enable a potential future lander mission to Europa.  Since current data does not provide sufficient information to identify landing sites and design a landing system capable of safely reaching the surface, NASA has defined the following programmatic reconnaissance goal:

- Characterize scientifically compelling sites, and hazards, for a potential future landed mission to Europa.

NASA has yet to determine the scope and architecture of the Europa mission. Recent NASA studies have focused on an orbiter mission concept and a multiple flyby mission concept as the most compelling and feasible.  All instrument investigations proposed in response to this PEA must be compatible with a mission that either orbits or conducts flybys of Europa.

Cost caps for specific instruments or the payload as a whole are not provided. Cost estimates performed for the orbiter and multiple flyby mission concepts indicated that approximately 15% of the total mission cost, excluding launch vehicle, was needed for the development and operation of the science payload. NASA values cost realism in all PEA responses.

Participation in this PEA is open to all categories of organizations (foreign and domestic, with the exception that foreign Principal Investigators and team members may not receive NASA funds, if selected), including educational, industrial, and not-for-profit organizations, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), University Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs), NASA Centers, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and other Government agencies, as well as non-U.S. partner organizations.

The time frame for the solicitation is intended to be:

Release of final PEA..................................... July 15, 2014

Preproposal conference................................ ~2 weeks after PEA release

Proposals due............................................... October 17, 2014

Selection for competitive Phase A studies... April 2015 (target)

Concept study reports due.......................... December 2015 (target)

Down-selection............................................ April 2016 (target)

Instrument delivery date.............................. January 2021

On or about July 15, 2014, this Amendment to the SALMON-2 AO will be posted on the NASA research opportunity homepage at http://nspires.nasaprs.com and at http://go.nasa.gov/SALMON2-AO.

Further information will be posted on the Europa Program Acquisition Page at http://soma.larc.nasa.gov/europa/ as it becomes available. Questions may be addressed to Dr. Curt Niebur, Europa Program Scientist, Science Mission Directorate, NASA, Washington, DC  20546; Tel.: (202) 358-0390; E-mail: curt.niebur@nasa.gov.

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