Status Report

Research Opportunities in Space Science – 2002 – NRA 02-OSS-01

By SpaceRef Editor
January 28, 2002
Filed under ,



NASA Research Announcement

Soliciting Basic Research Proposals

NRA 02-OSS-01

Issued:  January 28, 2002

Proposals Due

Starting March 21, 2002,

through February 14, 2003

Office of Space Science

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Washington, DC   20546-0001

Full Text of NRA online at


The stated mission of the Space Science Enterprise of the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration (NASA) is to solve the mysteries of the universe,
to explore the solar system, to discover planets around other stars, and
to search for life beyond Earth.  To carry out this mission, NASA’s
Office of Space Science (OSS) sponsors a broad range of research programs
relevant to its four Science Themes, defined as:

  • Astronomical Search for Origins and Planetary Systems (ASO) that
    addresses the origins of galaxies, stars, proto-planetary and extra-solar
    planetary systems, Earth-like planets, and the origin of life;
  • Solar System Exploration (abbreviated as ESS) that seeks to understand
    all aspects of our Solar System, including the planets, satellites, small
    bodies, and solar system materials, and the search for possible habitats
    of life beyond Earth;
  • Structure and Evolution of the Universe (SEU) that involves the
    study of cosmology, the large scale structure of the universe, the evolution
    of stars and galaxies, including the Milky Way and objects with extreme
    physical conditions, and an examination of the ultimate limits of gravity
    and energy in the Universe; and
  • The Sun-Earth Connection (SEC) that concerns the Sun as a typical
    star and as the controlling agent of the space environment of the Solar
    System, especially the Earth.

From a humanistic point of view, these four themes seek to answer four
fundamental questions:

“How did the Universe begin and evolve?”

“Where did we come from?”

“Where are we going?” and

“Are we alone?”

Further information about these themes, as well as access to the most recent
Strategic Plans (as of late 2001) for both NASA and OSS, may be found through
the OSS homepage on the World Wide Web at

OSS pursues these science themes using a wide variety of both space
flight programs and investigations in basic science and technology. 
This current NASA Research Announcement (NRA) ROSS-2002 solicits proposals
for Supporting Research and Technology (SR&T) investigations that seek
to understand naturally occurring space phenomena and space science-related
technologies.  Proposals in response to this NRA should be submitted
to the most relevant science Program Elements given in Appendix A (see
also the Table of Contents that prefaces this Summary of Solicitation).
1 at the end of this Summary lists these Program Elements in the order
of their deadlines for the submission of proposals, while Table
2 lists them in the order in which they are organized in Appendix A.
1 and 2 also cross reference these Program Elements
to the four OSS Science Themes noted above.  Appendix A contains detailed
descriptions of each Program Element, and questions about each may be directed
to their respective Discipline Scientist(s) identified in the “Programmatic
Information” section that concludes each one.

The ROSS NRA’s issued in 2000 (NRA 00-OSS-01) and 2001 (NRA 01-OSS-01)
organized the Program Elements into nine “clusters” based on their scientific
objectives and/or research techniques.  However, in mid-2001, the
Office of Space Science was reorganized into three scientific Divisions,

  • Astronomy and Physics Division,
  • Solar System Exploration Division, and
  • The Sun-Earth Connection Division.

Therefore, starting with this ROSS-2002 NRA, the Program Elements are now
organized into four main Sections in Appendix A, of which the first three
are managed respectively by these three new OSS science Divisions, while
the fourth one contains Interdisciplinary Program Elements.  Each
of these four main sections of Appendix A is prefaced with an “Overview”
subsection that provides a broad introduction to its program content and
objectives that all interested applicants to this NRA are urged to read
before preparing their proposals.

Recommendations for funding for the proposals submitted to this NRA
will be based on the peer evaluation of each proposal’s intrinsic merit,
its relevance to NASA’s objectives, and its cost.  For the purposes
of this NRA


(i) by intrinsic merit is meant the proposal’s science and technical merits,
the capabilities of the proposing institution, the qualifications of the
proposing personnel, and the overall standing of the proposal among similar
proposals and/or evaluation against the state-of-the-art;
(ii) by relevance to NASA’s objectives is meant the proposal’s relevance
to the objectives of the OSS science Program Element in this NRA to which
the proposal is submitted as well as to the achievement of the OSS and
NASA goals as given respectively in their most recent Strategic Plans
(iii) by cost is meant the reasonableness and realism of the proposal’s requested
budget in addition to its size with respect to the available funds.

Finally, it should be noted that, regardless of the merits of the submitted
proposals, the Government’s obligation to make awards is contingent upon
the availability of appropriated funds through the Federal budget process
from which payment can be made and the receipt of proposals in response
to this NRA that NASA determines are acceptable for award.

Participation in this program is open to all categories of U.S. and
non-U.S. organizations, including educational institutions, industry, nonprofit
institutions, NASA Centers, and other Government agencies.  Historically
Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s), other minority educational institutions,
and small businesses and organizations owned and controlled by socially
and economically disadvantaged individuals or women are particularly encouraged
to apply.  Participation by non-U.S. organizations in this program
is encouraged subject to NASA’s policy of no-exchange-of-funds (see further
information in the NASA
Guidebook for Proposers
discussed below).

Finally, all prospective proposers are advised that safety is a top
priority in all NASA’s programs.  Safety is the freedom from those
conditions that can cause death, injury occupational illness, damage to
or loss of equipment or property, or damage to the environment.  NASA’s
safety priority is to protect:  (1) the public, (2) astronauts and
pilots, (3) the NASA workforce (including employees working under NASA
instruments), and (4) high-value equipment and property.  All proposals
submitted in response to this solicitation are expected to comply with
this policy.

SpaceRef staff editor.