To: The Astronomical Community
From: The Physics of the Cosmos Program Analysis Group Executive Committee
Due Date: March 1, 2016
Submission: Submit PDF white papers to PhysPAG_Contact@bigbang.gsfc.nasa.gov
The Physics of the Cosmos Program Analysis Group (PhysPAG) invites you to provide feedback via submission of one-to-two page white papers on compelling Probe-class missions that NASA should consider for the 2020s. It does NOT represent a call for proposals, or pre-proposals. We are using this information to assess community interest in probes, and to understand the range of concepts.
Context: In 2015, Paul Hertz (Director, NASA Astrophysics Division) issued a memo to the astronomical community to stimulate planning for the 2020 Decadal Survey. Now that the question of large mission studies is advancing to the STDT mission-study phase, it is an appropriate time for the PhysPAG to consider the question of Probe-class missions in a more formal fashion.
Definition of Probe: We consider a Probe-class mission to fit within the cost envelope between a Mid-sized Explorer (MIDEX) mission and a large mission. While previous considerations have used $1B as a rigid cap, we would like to see where the balance between cost and return falls. A Probe-class mission would have a primary mission goal of addressing a focused science investigation with a PI, and is not intended to be a general-user type observatory. This activity is intended to explore the PCOS community's interest in a line of competed PI missions, in this approximate cost range.
Details of submissions: The papers submitted will be made public, so do not include proprietary information. Please include in your submission an initial estimate at the cost of your mission and the basis upon which this cost estimate has been made. The cost cap of probe missions is a matter of discussion, but will not exceed $1B (life cycle cost, LCC). The PhysPAG particularly wants to understand the potential for missions in the $0.5M–1B range. Please also include an idea of the mission lifetime needed for meeting its science goal(s). This initial call for white papers is only a start - the white papers will form a core set of community input for discussion regarding whether the establishment of a formal Probe-class mission line is warranted.
All white papers must include a title, author names, and email address of the lead author. Length is limited to 2 pages, including figures. Font size must be 10 point or greater. PDF submissions are preferred, although Microsoft Word submissions and plain text submissions are also acceptable. We recommend that you consider the following types of information below in your white paper responses.
Deadline for submission of the white papers: March 1, 2016.
Suggested format for the papers: