One of the many random listserves I belong to is a NASA list that sends me announcements about new calls for proposals and requests for information.
Last week I received one of these emails and it is actually a request that is really cool, and that isn’t usually true – it’s usually the programs that are funded that are cool.
In Solicitation Number NNH08ZDA005L NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is requesting community input on how spacecraft can get repurposed and duly purposed beyond their original mission program.
Specifically, they write, “With input from responses to this RFI, NASA intends to consider (i) whether there are science opportunities for new uses of existing spacecraft and (ii) whether a solicitation for proposals is warranted to enable such opportunities.”
Based on community input, NASA may decide to offer people the opportunity to propose new uses for all manner of space craft. Projects like EPOXI mission (which reuses the Deep Impact mission) could become common place.
“NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) currently sponsors approximately 85 flight missions, involving over 90 spacecraft,” and these missions and space craft all offer opportunities for the creative mind to do something unexpected. For instance, in the past a guide camera on a broken satellite (whose name I’ve forgotten) was used for precision measurements of star brightnesses. The astronomy community is large and rich and I feel certain that their input on this request for information will suggest a wealth of ways NASA can broaden the science it is able to do with existing programs and existing dollars.
Interested in giving your own input? Check out this link. (Registration required – You’ll have to jump through some NASA hoops if you aren’t already in NSPIRES.