NASA has begun planning for the implementation of the recommendations National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) 2017 Decadal Survey, “Thriving on Our Changing Planet: A Decadal Strategy for Earth Observations from Space” by conducting observing system architecture studies. Mass Change (MC) is identified as a Designated Observable, and the decadal survey recommends a mass change mission to continue the observational record of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and GRACE Follow-On (GRACE-FO) missions.
In response to guidance for multi-center study plans issued by NASA in June 2018, the NASA’s Ames Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (lead) and Langley Research Center submitted a joint study plan to the NASA Earth Science Division for the Mass Change Measurement System.
The MC study had three main objectives, namely:
- Identify and characterize a diverse set of high-value mass change observing architectures responsive to the decadal strategy report’s scientific and application objectives for mass change.
- Assess the cost effectiveness of each of the studied architectures.
- Perform sufficient in-depth design of one or two select architectures to enable rapid initiation of a phase-A study.
To accomplish these objectives, the study team, which also included NASA Headquarters, harnessed expertise and information from across the Earth science spectrum of research, applications, technology, mission formulation and implementation, as well as across the major stakeholder organizations in government (NASA and non-NASA), academia and industry. The results of the MC Study are summarized in the following documents:
The Mass Change Study Team has released the final version of the Science and Applications Traceability Matrix.
In order to allow the mass change community to express their opinions on the MC effort, a survey was released, as below, with the results published in several of the documents above.