Notice of Intent to release Mars 2020 Announcement of Opportunity

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science Mission Directorate (SMD) intends to release an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) entitled Mars 2020 Investigations to solicit proposals for investigations for a space flight mission to Mars, to be launched in July/August 2020. The target date for release of the AO is no earlier than (NET)  September 16, 2013. Upon release, the full text of the AO and any appendices will be available electronically at the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System website ( Links to the AO and additional information about the intent and the capabilities of the Mars 2020 Rover will be located at the Mars 2020 Acquisition Website (

The SMD budget for Phases A-D is expected to be approximately $100 million in real year (RY) dollars. Investigations comprised of individual instruments or multiple instruments (suites) may respond to the overall Mars 2020 science objectives to explore and quantitatively assess Mars as a potential habitat for life, to search for signs of past life, and to collect carefully selected samples for possible future return to Earth. Proposals that address objectives for advancing knowledge or technologies for future robotic and/or human exploration of Mars will also be solicited.

The report of the Science Definition Team (SDT) and SDT Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the Mars 2020 mission are available from the Mars 2020 Acquisition Website. The SDT has defined strawman payloads of instruments that could achieve the scientific knowledge and technology objectives. The list of candidate instrument types is a “proof-of-concept” – examples of potentially viable instruments. The list does not in any way restrict the possible approaches, nor is the list intended to preclude consideration of investigations that propose other instruments or combinations of instruments that can provide the necessary observations.

The Mars 2020 Investigations AO will solicit flight investigations for which each Principal Investigator is responsible for a complete space flight investigation, including instrument hardware, all mission operations, and data analysis.

Participation in this AO will be open to all categories of organizations (U.S. and non-U.S.), including educational, industrial, and not-for-profit organizations, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, University Affiliated Research Centers, NASA centers, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and other Government agencies. Principal Investigators are responsible for, and may assemble their investigation teams from, any of these organizations.

A preproposal conference will take place, approximately 2-3 weeks after AO release, via video/teleconference from Washington, DC. Notices of Intent (NOIs) will be required no later than one week after the preproposal conference. Proposals will be due AO release + 90 days. Any target dates in this notice may change. The total payload resources, including mass, power, and data for the instrument complement, will be provided in a Payload Information Package (PIP) posted to the Mars 2020 Acquisition Website. Note that the Mars 2020 Investigations AO may contain provisions that differ from this notice, in which case those in the AO will take precedence.

Questions or comments about the planned solicitation may be addressed to the NASA Program Scientist for Mars 2020 given below within 14 days of this posting (Friday August 23rd) in order to be considered for the final AO. The character string “Mars 2020 AO” must be included in the subject line of all communications.

Point of Contact:
Dr. Mitchell D. Schulte
Program Scientist,
Telephone: (202) 358-2127
Fax: (202) 358-3097