The Here to Observe (H2O) program is designed to spark and maintain an interest in STEM careers for underrepresented students through programs funded by NASA's Planetary Science Division.

Here to Observe program logo shows an artistic rendering of a planet with a magnifying glass in orbit around it, yellow drawing on black background. There are yellow stars and black text: Here to Observe, with blue text below: NASA PSD.

Opening Doors to Planetary Science

The Here to Observe (H2O) program offers 5-year awards of up to $75,000 per year to competitively selected, eligible partner institutions. Participating in the H2O Program gives undergraduate students the opportunity to observe and interact with NASA Planetary Science Division teams, with the goal of inspiring historically marginalized groups to be part of the STEM workforce.

The H2O Program operates by:

  • Encouraging student-led programs aligned to their interests and needs.
  • Supporting meaningful mentorship activities.
  • Enabling cohort-building at the institutional level.
  • Continuously refining the program through participant feedback.

Virtual activities may include:

  • Attending mission science team meetings, seminars, and panel discussions, as well as activities such as icebreakers, launch parties, and coffee hours.

In-person activities may include:

  • Mission-related site visits, student travel awards, attending the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, and PSD campus visits.

Current PSD Missions and H2O Partners

Six-panel graphic showing artistic interpretations of mission images and photographs of university faculty member and mission liaison. There are three missions  across each of two rows.

H2O Call for Proposals

ROSES-23 New Program and Anticipated in Future ROSES Years

Information for the Planetary Science Division (PSD) Here to Observe (H2O) Call for Proposals is below and is organized as follows:

This web page is for information and planning only. The Here to Observe (H2O) Program opportunity and all of its parameters (including eligibility, other requirements, budgets, etc.) was released as part of ROSES-2023 and the solicitation is anticipated again in future ROSES years; ROSES text may differ from what appears here.


To achieve the greatest mission success, NASA embraces hiring, developing, and growing a diverse and inclusive workforce. Underrepresentation in the field of planetary science is a known issue, with low proportions of historically marginalized groups participating in NASA Planetary Science Division (PSD) funded activities. As part of a multipronged strategy to address underrepresentation of historically marginalized groups in STEM, PSD has established the Here to Observe (H2O) program for undergraduate students from institutions not typically participating in NASA missions. The H2O Program is, in its simplest form, a monthly, 1-hour opportunity for undergraduate students to observe NASA PSD mission meetings/activities during the 9-month academic year, alongside mentors and peers. By opening doors to PSD missions and sharing the excitement of planetary exploration, H2O’s goal is to spark and maintain an interest for underrepresented students considering STEM careers.  


Any U.S.-based, non-R1 institution may submit a proposal to participate in the H2O Program, though non-R1 MSIs and PUIs are especially encouraged. Proposals to H2O must be led by one primary faculty member. Additional faculty participants can also be included, if needed. All H2O Program participants (faculty and undergraduate students) must be U.S. citizens or green card holders.


In lieu of a detailed budget, proposals to H2O should be scoped for annual budgets <$75,000 per year to participating institutions. After review, detailed budgets will be requested for selectable proposals, and proposing institutions will be paired to PSD missions for co-creating a revised Statement of Work and finalized budget (<$75,000/year) before awards are made. The H2O Program Officer will review these budgets in detail and may request changes in scope based on review outcomes and availability of funds.

Questions and Updates:

Questions about the H2O Program should be directed to David J. Smith (david.j.smith-3@nasa.gov) and please cc hq-h2o@mail.nasa.gov.

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