Status Report

NASA Teaming Opportunity for a Mars Aerial Platform Scout Mission (MARS)

By SpaceRef Editor
March 30, 2005
Filed under , , ,
NASA Teaming Opportunity for a Mars Aerial Platform Scout Mission (MARS)

General Information

Document Type: Sources Sought Notice
Solicitation Number: SS-NNL05MARS
Posted Date: Mar 29, 2005
Original Response Date: Apr 15, 2005
Current Response Date: Apr 15, 2005
Original Archive Date: Mar 29, 2006
Current Archive Date: Mar 29, 2006
Classification Code: A — Research & Development
Naics Code: 541710 — Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences

Contracting Office Address NASA/Langley Research Center, Mail Stop 144, Industry Assistance Office, Hampton, VA 23681-0001


Teaming Opportunity for a Mars Aerial Platform Scout Mission (Mars) NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) is performing a technical assessment to form the basis of a possible proposal for the NASA Science Mission Directorate Mars Scout 2011 opportunity. This assessment is focused on conducting scientific exploration of the planet Mars using an aerial platform.    

The purpose of this announcement is to enable LaRC to obtain teaming partners to participate in the development of the technical concept, proposal, and implementation of several mission elements in response to the upcoming NASA Mars Scout Announcement of Opportunity (AO).      

Specific mission areas where LaRC is seeking partners include (1) design and development of the science instrumentation, and (2) Education and Public Outreach (E&PO).     Exploration of Mars is motivated by a desire to better understand the planet as a possible abode of past or present life, the evolution of the planet’s climate, the geology of its surface and interior, and to prepare for future human exploration of Mars.    

Mars Scout missions are envisioned to be focused investigations of Martian biological, chemical, and physical phenomena and processes. The Mars Scout mission opportunity was established to provide for innovative, rapid-response investigations. Scout investigations will be led by a Principal Investigator and will be comprised of scientists in partnerships, potentially involving NASA Centers, academia, and industry. These teams will pursue missions of high scientific value utilizing observation platforms of their choice and design.     The Mars Scout AO is expected to be released approximately in April 2006 with the step-1 proposals due 90 days later.    

Several proposals will be selected to proceed to step-2 (Phase A). A launch date in 2011 is planned.      

LaRC is seeking potential partners for science instrumentation that may include a point spectrometer for surface measurements, an atmospheric mass spectrometer, instrumentation for the detection and mapping of subsurface water, an atmospheric dust monitor, in situ meteorological instrumentation (to measure atmospheric density and the three-dimensional structure of wind near the surface), an ionizing radiation monitor, a solar ultraviolet radiation monitor, a context camera and a video camera.     The context and video cameras and all responses above should have demonstrated space heritage.     Furthermore, LaRC is looking for partners to support E&PO activities that extend the knowledge learned through the scout mission and engage the general public through various forms of media, as well as formal and informal education.    

More specifically, LaRC is looking for E&PO partners that have previous experience in educating the public on previous NASA science missions, are willing to cost share, and have a clear approach to marketing the program activities and achievements to a regional and national audience. Responses are solicited from all U.S. industries, academia, non-profit organizations, national laboratories, other government agencies, and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers. If selected through this synopsis, each partner is expected to become a full member of the technical assessment, proposal development, and mission implementation team. LaRC will require each selected partner to provide a letter of commitment. LaRC anticipates issuing contracts or other agreements to the providers of science instrumentation and partners in E&PO, provided the mission concept is selected for implementation.    

Interested parties may propose as a partner for any, all, or any combination of the areas sought.    

Interested organizations shall provide a short synopsis (not to exceed 5 pages) for each of the areas of interest, addressing the criteria listed below. Responses shall be submitted electronically via e-mail by 5:00 local time, April 15, 2005 to: Chris Edwards at:    

Technical questions should be directed to:     Chris Edwards at; phone 757-864-1555.     Procurement questions should be directed to: Nancy Sessoms at:; phone 757-864-2471. Responses will be evaluated and partners selected based on the listed criteria in order of importance. The criteria are defined as follows:    

(1) Relevant Experience and Past Performance: This criterion evaluates the offeror?s relevant technical experience and past performance in similar development activities including control of cost and schedule.     Provide a description of relevant technical experience including a summary of significant achievements and technical, cost and schedule performance. Offeror shall specifically discuss the relevance of their experience in reference to the design and development of science instrumentation and E&PO programs and/or activities.    

(2) Technical Capability, Key Personnel and Facilities: This criterion evaluates the offeror?s technical capability to perform the development proposed, the availability and adequacy of key personnel, and the availability and adequacy of facilities. The offeror shall describe the technical capability, facilities and key personnel available to support the proposal and mission development. NASA will not reimburse organizations for the cost of submitting information in response to this synopsis.    

NASA will not pay for technical assessment or proposal preparation costs incurred by team members.    

It is expected that the teaming organizations will participate actively in the proposal process and that selection of the proposal for mission implementation would result in contract(s) for the selected partners. This synopsis teaming opportunity does not represent a guarantee to selection of award of any contracts, nor is it to be construed as a commitment by NASA to pay for the information solicited. It is expected that partner(s) selected would provide (at no cost to NASA), conceptual designs, technical data, proposal inputs, schedule and cost estimates consistent with the NASA Scout guidelines as described in the AO.

Point of Contact

Nancy M Sessoms, Contracting Officer, Phone (757) 864-2471, Fax (757) 864-7709, Email – Karen L Dempster, Contract Specialist, Phone (757) 864-5294, Fax (757) 864-7709, Email

Email your questions to Nancy M Sessoms at

SpaceRef staff editor.