Outer Planets Assessment Group
The Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG) was established by NASA in late 2004 to identify scientific priorities and pathways for exploration in the outer solar system. The group consists of a 15-person steering committee, which actively solicits input from the scientific community and reports its findings to NASA Headquarters. OPAG provides input to NASA but does not make recommendations.
OPAG is NASA's community-based forum designed to provide science input for planning and prioritizing outer planet exploration activities for the next several decades. It is chartered by NASA's Solar System Exploration Division and reports its findings at meetings of the Solar System Exploration Sub-Committee of the NASA Space Science Advisory Committee. Open to all interested scientists, OPAG regularly evaluates outer solar system exploration goals, objectives, investigations and required measurements on the basis of the widest possible community outreach.
Updated 2019 draft goals document now available:
Updated Version August 28, 2019 (citable for White Papers)
Outer Planets Assessment Group White Paper, April 30, 2020
UPDATED 14 NOVEMBER 2019: The Decadal community white paper submission page is now live on the LPI website:
The purpose of this site is to allow members of the planetary science community to inform one another of their intent to submit a white paper as part of the planetary decadal survey. This site is for information only; listing a white paper proposal here does not commit the author to submitting a white paper.
OPAG WHITE PAPER INFORMATION
The Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG) is soliciting topics for White Papers to be submitted to the upcoming 2023–2033 Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey. The list of white papers currently being prepared by members of the OPAG community, and the status of their preparation are recorded at the following link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1as89GEyX50SUrTOOEZBw9dw6bYmmH8vaQFH2nkeRFhU/edit?usp=sharing
Members of OPAG community who are interested in joining any white paper effort should contact the lead author.
We also encourage the OPAG community to examine the current list of white papers, and identify any gaps in the topics covered by those white papers. When any gap is identified, you may initiate an effort to close those gaps by starting a new white paper, or by contacting OPAG steering committee members to discuss how to proceed.
New entries to the above spreadsheet can still be made via the submission form at this link: https://forms.gle/o4ZxADBUPNZ9jpRp9
To make changes to existing entries, please contact Kunio Sayanagi. In particular, lead authors may be interested in adding a URL (e.g., google form) people may follow to co-sign/endorse their white papers.
2021 Fall Meeting of OPAG
August 30–September 1, 2021
The focus of this meeting was on aspects of the Decadal Survey that are relevant to OPAG.
Europa Lander Instrument PEA
Special OPAG Steering Committee Finding, May 26, 2017
NASA released "Community Announcement Regarding Europa Lander Instrument Investigation Program Element Appendix” on May 17, 2017 (see http://www.lpi.usra.edu/opag/announcements/). This announcement included a surprising statement regarding participation by JPL: "…the following organizations will be prohibited from submitting proposals in response to the PEA: the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Cornell Technical Services (CTS), and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. These organizations will provide substantial support to the development and execution of the PEA. In particular, JPL personnel will support the development of the AO and documents in the Program Library, assess the accommodation of proposed instrument investigations, provide technical support to teams during Step 2, and participate in site visits during the Step-2 evaluation.” The OPAG steering committee is concerned about the potential exclusion of JPL scientists and instrument technology experts who have spent decades preparing for a life-detection mission such as Europa Lander. We urge NASA to proceed in a way that does not increase risk to Europa Lander science by excluding key capabilities. We note that NASA has funded much highly relevant work at JPL via R&A programs and the Astrobiology Institute, and instrument technology development via MatISSE, PICASSO, COLDtech, and other programs. Excluding the knowledge gained from such efforts would be counterproductive.
The OPAG Steering Committee urges NASA to proceed with Europa Lander instrument and science team selections in a way that results in the best possible science return.
OPAG Science Goals Document 2015
Draft for Community Comment
2013 Europa Clipper Update
Robert Pappalardo, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
Brain Cooke, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University
"Science Potential from a Europa Lander" in Astrobiology
Read the definitive, peer-reviewed version of the Science Definition Team's report on "Science Potential from a Europa Lander" in the journal Astrobiology.