Special OPAG Steering Committee Finding, May 26, 2017
(See http://www.lpi.usra.edu/opag/ for full posting)
NASA released “Community Announcement Regarding Europa Lander Instrument Investigation Program Element Appendix” on May 17, 2017, which included a surprising statement prohibiting JPL from submitting proposals to this opportunity. The OPAG steering committee is concerned about this 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.