Joint NASA Roscosmos/IKI Science Definition Team for the Venera-D

Call for Letters of Application for Membership on the Joint NASA Roscosmos/IKI Science Definition Team for the Venera-D

Solicitation Number: NNH14ZDA003L
Posted Date: December 18, 2013
Response Date: January 3, 2014

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) invites scientists, technologists, and other qualified and interested individuals at U.S. institutions and elsewhere to apply for membership on the Science Definition Team (SDT) for the Venera-D Venus mission. Venera-D is a strategic Venus mission sponsored by Roscosmos, with participation by NASA’s Planetary Science Division, which is part of the Science Mission Directorate (SMD).  

This mission will advance the scientific priorities detailed in the National Research Council’s Planetary Science Decadal Survey, entitled “Visions and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022” (the Decadal Survey is available at  The Decadal Survey and the Phase A study of Venera-D (Venera-D mission information available at ) conducted in Russia under the guidance of IKI (with participation of GEOKHI, IPM, FIRE, IFZ, and Lavochkin Association), show that there is substantial overlap in the objectives and implementation approach.  It is, thus, apparent that considerable cost savings can be achieved by a coordin­­ated and collaborative effort between U.S. and Russia respective space agencies.  This can be accomplished by the two agencies undertaking complementary and coordinated missions to Venus using the 2021-2023 launch opportunities. Venera-D is intended to investigate the complex Venusian environment and to decipher its geological processes and history, including the assessment of its atmospheric progression to its current extreme greenhouse state. 

The members of the Venera-D SDT will provide NASA with scientific assistance and direction during preliminary concept definition (Pre-Phase Activities). Near-term activities of the SDT will include the establishment of baseline mission science objectives and a realistic scientific concept of surface and atmospheric operations, development of a strawman architecture, including payload/instrument suite as proof of concept, and suggestions for threshold science objectives/measurements for a preferred viable mission within resource constraints provided by NASA Headquarters.  The products developed by the SDT will be used to develop the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Announcement of Opportunity (AO) that will outline the primary science objectives of the baseline mission and the character of the payload-based investigations solicited under the open competition associated with the AO.  The SDT will be formed in late January 2014 and disbanded after the work is complete, approximately a year later. The joint Venera-D SDT will:

1.     Consider the major science questions about Venus addressed by Venera –D and the Venus Mission, as reported in and identify how the required observations can be obtained in a complementary or supplementary nature from the available and/or proposed platforms and instruments.

2.     Identify which Venus questions are not addressed by the two missions and explore options to obtain the required data.

3.     Submit a report to the two agencies within 12 months following the formal formation of the team.

All reports and output materials of the Venera-D SDT will be made publicly available, and the SDT will be disbanded prior to any future cooperative Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for participation in the Venera-D mission, including provision of instrumentation and investigation support.  Participation in the Venera-D SDT is open to all qualified and interested individuals.


Response to this Call for Membership in the Venera-D SDT is in the form of a Letter of Application.  SDT members will be selected by NASA Headquarters senior officials from the pool of respondents and other qualified candidates, in coordination with Roscosmos/IKI. The selected members will have demonstrated expertise and knowledge in areas highly relevant to the Venera-D primary scientific goals and related technologies and instrumentation. The Letter of Application should provide clearly defined evidence of the candidate’s demonstrated expertise in one or more areas associated with the preliminary mission description given above.

The Letter of Application may also contain a brief list of references to scientific or technical peer-reviewed papers the applicant has published that formally establish their position of scientific leadership in the community.  The references are not included in the page limit. The letter should also contain a statement confirming the applicant’s time availability during the next six to twelve months to participate on the SDT, particularly if there are any major schedule constraints that may restrict full engagement in the significant amount of work that will be required in a reasonably short time frame.  Applicants should indicate interest in serving as the chair or co-chair of the SDT. Note that much of the interaction will be conducted via web-ex.

Membership in the SDT will be determined by NASA, in consultation with Roscosmos/IKI, after formal review of the Letters of Application solicited by this Call for Membership.  Approximately three to four SDT members, including a SDT Chair will be selected.  The NASA Venus Lead Scientist, from the NASA Planetary Science Division, and possibly other Agency representatives will serve as ex officio members of the SDT.

Letters of Applicationare invited only from individuals, and group applications will not be considered.  In addition, collaborations and teams will not be considered.

Each Letter of Application, limited to two pages, with 11-point font with 1-inch margins, should be submitted by E-mail no later than January 3, 2014 (11:59 p.m. EST), to the address below  and the subject line of the E-mail should include "VENERA-D".

The issuance of this Call for Letters of Application does not obligate NASA to accept any of the applications. Any costs incurred by prospective investigators in preparing submissions in response to this Call are incurred completely at the submitter's own risk.

Dr. Adriana C. Ocampo
Planetary Sciences Division
Science Mission Directorate
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
300 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20546
Phone:  202-358-2152
Fax:  202-358-3097

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