Status Report

NASA Community Announcement: Intention to Amend ROSES-20 via a Future Appendix “Payloads and Research Investigations on the Surface of the Moon”

By SpaceRef Editor
July 20, 2020
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This National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Community Announcement concerns the Lunar Discovery and Exploration Program’s (LDEP) intention to release a solicitation for lunar science and technology payloads within “Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science (ROSES) 2020″ (NNH20ZDA001N). NASA has not approved the issuance of a program element entitled “Payloads and Research Investigations on the Surface of the Moon” (PRISM) solicitation and this notification does not obligate NASA to issue the call and solicit proposals.  Any costs incurred by prospective investigators in preparing submissions in response to this notification or the planned PRISM solicitation are incurred completely at the submitter’s own risk.


The PRISM call will seek investigations that address the science goals of 1) any SMD division, e.g., Planetary Science, Earth Science, Heliophysics, Astrophysics, Biological and Physical Sciences, formerly a Division in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate known as Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications; 2) Strategic Knowledge Gaps of the HEOMD; or 3) any technology demonstration goals of the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) that advance capabilities for science, exploration, or commercial development of the Moon.  PRISM science investigations must address NASA’s science objectives as described in 2018 NASA Strategic Plan, the relevant division Decadal Surveys, and/or the 2019 NASA Science Strategy of the Moon.  Also of relevance are those objectives outlined in the Planetary Science Decadal (Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022), the Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon, and the Advancing Science of the Moon Specific Action Team.


PRISM will solicit development and flight of science-driven suites of instruments and technology demonstration payloads that will be flown on Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) landers.  The Lunar Discovery and Exploration Program (LDEP) anticipates flying two CLPS landers to the lunar surface each year in 2021 and beyond.  The PRISM solicitation will call for science investigations enabled by the provision of a suite of instruments to be delivered to predetermined lunar landing sites.  Suites are defined as two or more instruments designed to work together to address a fundamental scientific question.  NASA expects to select suites to be manifested on the next two CLPS deliveries expected to be delivered in late 2023 and early 2024.  These deliveries will go to Reiner Gamma (a lunar swirl) in Q4 2023, and a Schrodinger Basin impact melt (lunar far side) in Q2 2024.  Proposals will identify one or more of these lunar landing sites and propose an investigation uniquely achieved within that type of lunar terrain. 


NASA plans to fund instrument development and flight through Principal Investigator (PI)-led lunar-surface and lunar-vicinity science investigations or technology demonstration payloads under a not-to-exceed cost cap.  Proposed investigations, including all mission phases, are expected to not exceed $30M and 50 kg down-mass to the lunar surface for each delivery in total. More suites may be selected if the total cost remains below the overall PRISM cost cap ($60M total for both deliveries).  Thus, lower-cost investigations and cost-efficient operations are encouraged. Additionally, each selected package may be co-manifested with other PRISM or unrelated payloads on each lander. 


SMD’s remaining Lunar Surface Instrumentation and Technology Payloads (LSITP) instrument has been premanifested on the lunar far side delivery.  The instrument, Lunar Surface Electromagnetics Experiment (LuSEE), is a flight-spare payload from the FIELDS experiment on the recently launched Parker Solar Probe spacecraft, and will measure the electromagnetic and electrostatic environment of the lunar surface, including surface electric potentials, magnetic fields, and electrostatic signatures of dust.  LuSEE will also measure radio emissions from the Sun, Earth, and outer planets.  PRISM proposals may propose suites that complement, but do not overlap, the science expected from LuSEE. 


NASA recognizes and supports the benefits of having diverse and inclusive scientific, engineering, and technology communities and fully expects that such values will be reflected in the composition of all proposal teams as well as peer review panels (science, engineering, and technology), science definition teams, and mission and instrument teams.


Foreign contributions to PRISM proposals, including hardware, will be allowed on a no-exchange-of-funds basis and such that the total value of foreign contributions to the proposed investigation shall not exceed one-third of the investigation.


Because a Request for Information: Payloads and Research Investigations on the Surface of the Moon (PRISM) Solicitation: NNH20ZDA007L was released April 10, 2020, SMD will not release draft text of the PRISM program element for community comment.  The time frame for the solicitation is intended to be:


ROSES 2020 PRISM Release………………….

Summer 2020 (target)

Pre-proposal Conference………………..……….

14 days after ROSES release

Proposals due………………………………………..

60 days after ROSES release


4-5 months post proposal due date


Questions may be addressed to Dr. Brad Bailey, Exploration Science Strategy and Integration Office (ESSIO) Program Scientist, SMD, NASA,; and/or Dr. Sarah Noble, Planetary Science Division Program Scientist, SMD, NASA, Email: 


SpaceRef staff editor.