New Members

Dear OPAG Community,

The OPAG Steering Committee would like to announce upcoming openings on the OPAG Steering Committee, and ask for the community's help to reach out to potential candidates who can serve the OPAG community.

We first invite the community to review the current steering committee membership at this link:

Of the current members, Britney Schmidt, Mark Hofstadter, Alfred McEwen and Jeff Bowman will be rolling off from the committee after the September 2020 OPAG meeting. We invite the OPAG community to join the rest of the steering committee in thanking them for their service to the community.

We seek to identify candidates who can fill any gaps that will be opened by the departure of these members. Through the search process, we will also strive to ensure representation across multiple axes to foster an interdisciplinary, diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible community. All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, particularly those with expertise in Giant Planet Interiors, Io, Ocean Worlds & Cryospheres (field and experimental), Astrobiology, and those able to represent Science Mission Directorate Cross-Divisional interests.

We intend to accept nominations after the OPAG virtual meeting in September 2020 and ask the new members to start their service in time for the Spring 2021 meeting. Details of the nomination process include providing a one-page letter of interest and a two-page NASA proposal-style CV that address what community the candidates represent, and how they will enhance that community's representation on the steering committee. A New Members subcommittee of the OPAG Steering Committee will review all of the nominations and make recommendations to the full Steering Committee.

Meanwhile, the OPAG Steering Committee would like the community's help to reach out to potential candidates to make them aware of the upcoming openings, and start discussing how the community would like to be represented on the OPAG Steering Committee. We will designate time to discuss the process and receive community input at the OPAG meeting in September. Nominations will be accepted starting on October 9, 2020 and will be due by November 9, 2020. Please send your nominations, with the letter of interest and CV together in a single PDF file , to: For the file name, please use the format Lastname-FirstName-OPAG.

Inquiries about the OPAG Steering Committee membership should be directed to Jeff Moore ( and/or Linda Spilker (

Jeff Moore and Linda Spilker
OPAG Co-Chairs


Announcement Regarding August 2019 OPAG Meeting

The Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG) will be devoting the bulk of its August meeting to discussions and preparation for the next Decadal Survey. Community members are encouraged to attend and add their voice to this diverse discussion. During the meeting we will arrange panel discussions on various topics. Please contact Carrie Chavez (​c​c​h​a​v​e​z​@​s​e​t​i​.​o​r​g) by August 15 if you would like to lead one of these panel discussions. By the end of the meeting we expect to produce a list of three key recommendations to develop and eventually deliver to the Decadal Survey committee for consideration.

Topics for White Papers

The Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG) is soliciting topics for White Papers to be submitted to the upcoming 2023–2033 Decadal Survey.  Below is a google docs link with a spread sheet where interested individuals and groups can list a topic (or title), and people willing to contribute to said topic. Note that the OPAG Steering Committee hopes that people with similar interests will work together to produce a widely co-authored White Paper, which will inevitably have greater impact than a number of similar papers with few authors.

Community Announcement Regarding Europa Lander Instrument Investigation Program Element Appendix

This community announcement is an advance notice of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) plan to release a Program Element Appendix (PEA) for the Third Stand Alone Missions of Opportunity Notice (SALMON-2) for instrument investigations for a Europa lander mission.  This opportunity will solicit proposals describing the full lifecycle development and operation of instrument investigations.  Proposed investigations will be evaluated and selected through a two-step competitive process, with approximately 10 proposals selected for Step 2. The Step 2 Phase A Concept Study will be capped at approximately twelve months and a $1.5M (FY2018) budget per investigation.  At the conclusion of these studies, NASA may downselect some concept studies to complete Phase A and subsequent mission phases.

Investigations will be limited to those addressing the following science objectives (listed in order of decreasing priority):

  1. Search for evidence of life on Europa,
  2. Assess the habitability of Europa via in situ techniques uniquely available to a lander mission, and
  3. Characterize surface and subsurface properties at the scale of the lander.

NASA has yet to decide on the scope and implementation of a possible Europa lander mission.  Current law directs NASA to plan for a Europa lander mission.  However, the Administration’s FY 2018 budget request does not support a Europa lander mission.  All instrument investigations proposed in response to this PEA must focus on Europa and be compatible with a mission that lands on the surface and operates for approximately one month.  NASA will hold an in depth workshop to provide the most current information available on the mission concept to proposers and allow them to pose questions directly (both in pubic and in private) to mission developers.  This multiday workshop will take place in summer 2017. 

Participation in this PEA will be open to foreign and domestic organizations (with the exception that foreign Principal Investigators and team members may not receive NASA funds, if selected).  However, 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 time frame for the solicitation is intended to be:

Release of final PEA NLT August 2017 (target)
Mission Workshop Summer 2017
Preproposal conference. ~3 weeks after final PEA release
Proposals due ~90 days after PEA release
Selection for competitive Phase A studies June 2018 (target)
Concept study reports due June 2019 (target)
Down-selection September 2019 (target)
Launch readiness date TBD

NASA has not approved the issuance of the Europa Lander Instrument Investigation PEA and this notification does not obligate NASA to issue the PEA and solicit proposals. Any costs incurred by prospective investigators in preparing submissions in response to this notification or the planned Europa Lander Instrument Investigation PEA are incurred completely at the submitter's own risk.

Further information will be posted on the Europa Lander Acquisition Page at as it becomes available. Questions may be addressed to Dr. Curt Niebur, Europa Program Scientist, Planetary Science Division, Science Mission Directorate, NASA, Washington, DC 20546; Tel.: (202) 358-0390; Email:

Icarus special issue calls for papers

Recent advances in surface and atmospheric processes on Titan
Planetary Rings

Call for Participation - Training Opportunity
Photogrammetric Processing of Planetary Stereo Imagery using ISIS and SOCET SET®
July 27–29, 2015