Subject: [DPS Members] DPS Mailing #08-01: Mission PI Requirements, AO Simplification, SOFIA...

Issue 08-01, February 14th 2008

1) DPS Committee Recommendation On NASA PI Qualification Requirements
2) Simplifying NASA AOs: Workshop 28-29 2008
3) SOFIA Early Science: Input Requested
4) Grading NASA's Solar System Exploration Program: A Midterm Review
5) Revamped DPS Web Site
6) Job Announcements
7) Upcoming Meetings



Concern over the strict nature of the PI qualification requirements
for New Frontiers missions has been expressed by a number of members
of the planetary community. The Science Mission Directorate's new
requirements are as follows:

"The PI experience requirement for large class missions is met by
demonstrating at least two qualifying experiences of at least two
years each. One experience must be in a lead role [PI, Project Manager
(PM), Project Scientist (PS), Deputy PI, Deputy PM, Deputy PS] for an
orbital or deep space mission or instrument that will be launched
prior to AO downselection. The second experience must be in a lead or
significant support role (e.g., science team lead, operations lead,
etc.) for a different space mission. Experience must include the
development of flight hardware. Experience gained in pre-proposal and
Phase A concept studies does not meet this requirement."

After discussions with Jim Green at NASA HQ, the DPS Committee
concludes that an empirical approach to assessing the potential for
excessive limitation of the PI pool as a consequence of the new
requirements is both feasible and desirable. NASA has provided a
convenient and time-economical approach to doing this, through a
pre-qualification form that is filled out by individuals and then
evaluated by NASA.

The DPS Committee encourages concerned individuals to complete the
form, available at and then submit
it to NASA. Those willing to share the results with the DPS committee
can send a short email indicating NASA's assessment to Jonathan Lunine

The intent is not to flood NASA with applications; please do not fill
out the form unless you have a potential interest in being PI of a New
Frontiers mission, or would like to know whether you would qualify for
such a role.



The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) at NASA Headquarters has
initiated an effort to simplify NASA Announcements of Opportunity
(AOs). To support this effort, SMD is planning a Proposers Lessons
Learned Workshop for proposers to the recent Discovery, Mars Scout,
and Small Explorer (SMEX) AOs. The workshop will be held in Grand
Hyatt Hotel at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport on February 28-29, 2008.  We
hope you will be able to join us.  Workshop details are posted at

This workshop will provide critical feedback to NASA on the AO process and
on improving future AOs. The workshop will focus on the experience and
lessons learned by proposers from the Discovery and Mars Scout 2006 proposal
cycles, and also the recently completed SMEX proposal cycle. Additional
information on the workshop (location, registration information, agenda,
etc.) will be posted on the web at as soon as it is available.

The draft workshop agenda is being shaped by preliminary feedback that SMD
has received on AO improvements; the agenda will be posted at as soon as it is available.
The workshop will pay particular attention to the following topics: AO
Requirements (perception and reality), Technical Data including Telecom (how
much is too much), Cost and Schedule Data (how much is needed), Launch
Services and other external factors (interactions with the cost cap),
Education and Public Outreach (including student collaborations), and
Letters of Commitment (including endorsements and foreign support).

==> If you wish to make a 5-7 minute presentation on one of these topics, or
any other
appropriate topic, please send email to

Many industry partners do not appear as team members on the cover of
proposals, yet NASA is very interested in their participation as well.
Please forward this email notice to the proposal lead at your industry
partner as well as to any other participants in recent NASA AO proposal

Even if you cannot attend the workshop, NASA is soliciting your input on
improving the AO and the AO process. Please see the announcement requesting
community input at

For further information on the workshop or AO Simplification, please see, send email to, or contact Paul Hertz (202-358-0986) or Brad Perry



As many of you may be aware the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared
Astronomy (SOFIA) will soon be taking science data.  In anticipation
of this event the SOFIA program is seeking ideas for early science
from the planetary community.  Observations would be done with the
first suite of instruments for SOFIA and would take place during the
first few years of operation.  Input is being coordinated through a
science advisory team led by Dr. Bob Gehrz, and I have been asked to
lead the collection of ideas from the planetary science community.  If
you are unfamiliar with the SOFIA instrumentation and the parameters
and performance of the telescope, please go to the following web site:

You may send your ideas with a few paragraphs of explanation for why
this is an exciting and important observation to me at
"".  I will need your input by the end of February
so that ideas can be incorporated into a White Paper that will be
presented and discussed at the summer AAS meeting.

David C. Black, LPI



The NASA Authorization Act of 2005 directed the agency to ask the NRC
to assess the performance of each division in the NASA Science
directorate at five-year intervals. In this connection, NASA requested
the NRC to review the progress the Planetary Exploration Division has
made in implementing recommendations from previous, relevant NRC
studies.  This report provides an assessment of NASA's progress in
fulfilling those recommendations including an evaluation how well it
is doing and of current trends.  The report covers key science
questions, flight missions, Mars exploration, research and analysis,
and enabling technologies.  Recommendations are provided for those
areas in particular need of improvement.



Ross Beyer, DPS Webmaster, has redesigned the DPS Web pages and has also
instituted a new URL:  Please update your bookmarks,
though the old URL still works for now.



1) Research Associate in Planetary Atmospheres
Institution: Imperial College London

Contact: Marina Galand, Imperial College London,
+44 20 7594 1771

2) The Arecibo Observatory currently has openings for one staff
astronomer and one post-doc. Application deadlines for both are 28 Feb
2008.  Planetary scientists are encouraged to apply. Arecibo has
unique capabilities for using the radar system or spectral line
capabilities to study asteroids, comets and planets. For further
information contact Michael Nolan, Head of Planetary Radar Group,



1) 37th Committee On SPAce Research (COSPAR) General Assembly, Montreal
Canada 13-20 July 2008.

Deadline for abstracts is Sunday, February 17, 2008 at 23:59 CET

Of particular interest are two sessions:

A) 808 Laboratory Studies in Support of Planetary Observations from the
Ground, Earth Orbit, or Deep Space Missions William D Smythe and
Patrick Irwin, convenors

Laboratory measurements provide the background information necessary
for extracting from observations of the planets how the solar system
originated and how it has evolved. The information gained from
laboratory measurements is critical to understanding observations of
the planets, their atmospheres, their surfaces, their satellites, the
fields in which they are immersed, and the interactions between these
elements. The form and limits of data obtained from astronomical,
earth-orbit, and deep space missions must be interpreted through
laboratory measurements, where the number of variables can be
controlled. This session provides a forum for discussing laboratory
results and techniques and their application to interpretation of
planetary data. The oral session topics include: Planetary
atmospheres; Planetary surfaces; Particles and fields; and
Interactions of planetary atmospheres and surfaces with the space

B) Symposium B06 "Scientific investigations from Planetary Probes
and aerial platforms" (main contact:

2) First TandEM (Titan and Enceladus Mission) Study Workshop: Meudon,
France, 17-19 March 2008

The Workshop will focus on the different scientific and technological
aspects for defining the mission (contact:

Send submissions to:
John Spencer, DPS Secretary (