January 18, 2016


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NASA Research Announcement

NASA ROSES Strategic Astrophysics Technology:Technology Development for Exoplanet Missions View Website

Meeting Details

An informational workshop will be held January 19, 2016, 1:00 - 2:40 pm EDT to assist TDEM-15 proposers. Presentations will be made by the ExEP Program Scientist Doug Hudgins and ExEP Program Chief Technologist Nick Siegler followed by a Q&A.

Time: 10:00am -12:00pm PDT = 1:00pm 3:00pm EDT
Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2016
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Start Topic Speaker
1:00 Welcome and logistics Nick Siegler
1:10 Purpose and Scope of SAT/TDEM Douglas Hudgins
1:40 Available ExEP Resources at JPL Nick Siegler
2:10 Q & A
2:40 Adjourn


Q: Regarding the use of modeling software to predict coronagraph starlight suppression, is a team expected to perform the modeling themselves using PROPER, or will this be done by John Krist on behalf of the team?

A: You should coordinate this with the Exoplanet Program (Nick Siegler, when developing your proposal. Should you wish to do the modeling yourself, PROPER code for prediction of starlight suppression is publicly available, listed under John Krist’s 2009 TDEM effort at

Q: If the PIAA-CMC is excluded from the 2015 SAT/TDEM call because of its support by AFTA, is PIAA for an unobscured aperture included?

A: A PIAA configuration for an unobscured aperture would not be excluded.

Q: What is the expected ratio of software to hardware efforts in the different subject areas?

A: The solicitation is aimed at raising the Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of mid-range TRL technologies. The definitions of TRL as they apply to hardware and software is provided in NASA NPR 7123.1B, Appendix E. The ratio of efforts depends on the specific technologies.

Q: If the development of low-order wavefront sensing technologies is excluded because of its development by AFTA for space-based applications, would it also be excluded for ground-based applications such as the Palomar telescope?

A: Yes, it would also be excluded – pending further clarification by the AFTA Study Office.

Q: It seems inconsistent that while AFTA is occupying all the Program’s High Contrast Imaging facilities, the development of infrastructure is excluded from the SAT/TDEM call.
A: You may propose to use vacuum facilities outside of the Program, but not to build new infrastructure.

Q: Are technologies that are useful “add-ons” to AFTA excluded?

A: Technologies that would be substantially advanced by AFTA are excluded.

Q: Although the technology is aimed at enabling the detection and characterization of Earth-like planets, would proposals that develop technology for the imaging of dust-disks be acceptable

A: Yes, providing what is proposed demonstrates the advancement of technologies in the direction of enabling the detection of Earth-like planets.

Q: Low-noise detectors can improve detection sensitivity and hence increase planet yield. Why are these items excluded from the Call?

A: The ExEP acknowledges the important benefits advanced detector technologies can play in exoplanet science. They are still listed as a technology gap in the ExEP Technology Plan Appendix. They were excluded in the TDEM-15 call due to the combination of Program prioritization of starlight suppression priorities and the fact that the WFIRST/AFTA coronagraph is investing significantly in characterizing and flight-readying EMCCDs. The Program acknowledges that there are technologies outside of the scope of the current SAT solicitation that may have to be advanced for the ultimate "Earth-finder" mission--detectors chief among them.

Q: Could you confirm if high-contrast polarimetric imaging advancement is excluded from this solicitation?

A: The admissibility would be predicated on the proposers' ability to make a clear and convincing case that technology to compensate for polarization effects would directly improve the starlight suppression performance of a system. The argument that a starlight suppression system would be "improved" or "enhanced" by the added ability to measure the polarization of the light from an exoplanet--another form of the "more is better" argument above--would not meet this standard.

Q: Are other potentially-competed missions with goals other than direct imaging of exoplanets also excluded? (e.g., characterization of exoplanetary debris in circumstellar environments)?

A: This SAT solicitation excludes technology development for any competed mission concept, regardless of its science goals. The SAT program is restricted to technology development for potential future strategic missions only. This change was instituted to make the TDEM element consistent with the other two elements of the SAT solicitation. Technology development for competed missions (e.g. Explorer missions) can be proposed under the APRA program.