PDS CAN Announcement and Schedule

Community Announcement for NASA Planetary Data System Discipline Nodes Cooperative Agreement Notice

The Planetary Science Division intends to release a Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) for the Discipline Nodes of the Planetary Data System (PDS) by March 2015. The PDS is NASA’s primary accumulating archive of digital data returned by robotic Solar System exploration missions.

The overall goal of this solicitation is to establish a network of organizations to serve as Discipline Nodes.  To accomplish this goal NASA is planning on selecting one or more proposals that outline a design to create an active and creative interface between mission providers, the science community and the NASA Planetary Data System (PDS). Proposals may be submitted by individual organizations or consortia of organizations with one of the member organizations serving as the lead or primary applicant. Consistent with the use of the PDS4 archiving standard, consortia proposing to this CAN may define their own unique, creative, and agile approaches to achieving the goal of the solicitation.

The Planetary Data System (PDS) archives electronic data products from NASA planetary missions, sponsored by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.  It actively manages the archive to maximize its usefulness, and the PDS has become a basic resource for scientists around the world. All PDS-curated products are peer-reviewed, well documented, and available online to scientists and to the public without charge.  Online search capabilities are also provided.

The PDS uses standards for describing and storing data that are designed to enable future scientists who are unfamiliar with the original experiments to analyze the data and to do this using a variety of computer platforms, with no additional support.  These standards address the data structure, description contents, and a set of terms.

Though the PDS does not fund the production of archive data from active missions, it works closely with project teams to help them design well-engineered products that can be released quickly.

While PDS-curated products are freely available online, the PDS provides teams of scientists to help users select and understand the data.  It also offers special assistance for products tailored to the needs of individual users.

The PDS is organized as a federated data system; data are archived by scientist-led organizations, the Discipline Nodes, which present a single interface to the world (http://pds.nasa.gov). Additional functional groups provide engineering and user interface design services. These Technical Support Nodes are not being competed at this time.

The Discipline Nodes are currently organized around broad areas—some based on scientific discipline, some by target body type, and some by sensing modality.  These broad areas reflect NASA’s mission and the Agency’s strategic plan for planetary science, summarized below:

  • Atmospheric Science (composition, structure, meteorology, and aeronomy) of planets, excluding the Earth
  • Geosciences (geology, geophysics, surface properties, and tectonics) of planets excluding the Earth
  • Small bodies (comets, asteroids, dwarf planets, and also dust)
  • Planetary Plasma Interactions (solar wind-planetary interactions, magnetospheres, ionospheres, plasma tori) of planets, excluding the Earth
  • Planetary Rings
  • Imaging (pushbroom imagers, hyperspectral imagers, analysis tools) of solar system objects, excluding the Earth

Proposers to the CAN are not required to replicate the existing organization.

It is anticipated that $8M will be available for this selection in the first award year, leading to the award of five to seven Cooperative Agreements, each of five years duration with an option for five additional years.  If the appropriated funds available are less than anticipated, then fewer awards may be made.  It is also anticipated that the same amount of funding as the first year will be available in the subsequent award years.  Annual funding allotments after the first award year will be provided only after the submission of an acceptable progress report (see Section 6.3).  Note that all funding awards are contingent upon the availability of appropriated funds.

NASA will negotiate Cooperative Agreements with selected Lead Proposing Institutions and will administer all funding.  Except as provided below, Cooperative Agreements in accordance with regulations 14 CFR Part 1260 for educational and nonprofit institutions (see Grants and Cooperative Agreement Handbook, NPR 5800.1, available at http://prod.nais.nasa.gov/pub/pub_library/grcover.htm).

Note that proposals from non-US institutions will not be solicited. Additionally, proposals from commercial, for-profit entities, regardless of their location, will not be solicited.

The time frame for the solicitation is intended to be:

Release of CAN…………………………………….. March 2015 (target)
Preproposal conference…………………………14 days after CAN release
Step 1 Proposals due……………………………..No less than 30 days after CAN release
Step 2 Proposals due……………………………..90 days after CAN release
Selection………………………………………………. July 2015 (target)

NASA has not approved the issuance of the PDS Discipline Nodes CAN and this notification does not obligate NASA to issue the CAN and solicit proposals. Any costs incurred by prospective investigators in preparing submissions in response to this notification are incurred completely at the submitter’s own risk.

Further information will be posted on the Planetary Data System website at http://pds.nasa.gov/ as it becomes available. Questions may be addressed to Dr. Thomas Morgan at thomas.h.morgan@nasa.gov.

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