The Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG) is responsible for soliciting and coordinating community input into the development and execution of NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program (ExEP). It serves as a community-based, interdisciplinary forum for soliciting and coordinating community analysis and input in support of the Exoplanet Exploration Program objectives and of their implications for architecture planning and activity prioritization and for future exploration. It provides findings of analyses to the NASA Astrophysics Division Director.

Executive Committee:

ExoPAG activities and meetings are organized through an Executive Committee, selected by NASA HQ through a Dear Colleague letter. Appointments are made annually to replace members rotating off; the normal term is 3 years. If you are interested in serving on the Executive Committee, please contact the ExoPAG Executive Secretary at NASA HQ (Hannah Jang-Condell, Deputy Exoplanet Exploration Program Scientist).

New Executive Committee members for 2021: Michael Bottom, Ofer Cohen, Knicole Colon, Ilaria Pascucci.


ExoPAG News and Announcements (September 8, 2021)

  1. NN-EXPLORE in 2022A: Time Available on the WIYN 3.5m, CTIO/SMARTS 1.5m with CHIRON, MINERVA-Australis, and Support for Community Observing with High Resolution Imaging on WIYN, Gemini-North, and Gemini-South (Proposals due Sept. 30, 2021)
  2. Exoplanet Explorers (ExoExplorers) Seminar Series: Soliciting Both “ExoGuides” and “ExoExplorers” for 2nd Cohort (January-June 2022) [ExoGuide nomination deadline is September 10, 2021. ExoExplorer application deadline is September 23, 2021]
  3. Input to ExEP Science Gap List (Deadline September 30, 2021)
  4. NASA Hubble Fellowship Applications are Open (Due Nov. 4, 2021)
  5. Astrophysics Explorer Solicitations Released
  6. NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) Proposal Call 2022A (Proposals due Oct. 1, 2021)
  7. Twinkle Exoplanet Conference (Sept. 29, 2021)
+ more

1) NN-EXPLORE Time Available for 2022A: WIYN 3.5m, CTIO/SMARTS 1.5m, MINERVA-Australis, and Community High Resolution Imaging on WIYN, Gemini-North, and Gemini-South (Proposals due Sept. 30, 2021 through NOIRLab Proposal Process)

NN-EXPLORE proposals are invited for the WIYN 3.5m, CTIO/SMARTS 1.5m with CHIRON, and MINERVA-Australis in semester 2022A (covering 1 February 2022 – 31 July 2022) through the NOIRLab call for proposals: https://noirlab.edu/science/observing-noirlab/proposals/call-for-proposals/

For further details on the NN-EXPLORE time and the complete list of available instruments, see: https://noirlab.edu/science/observing-noirlab/proposals/nn-explore/

WIYN 3.5m

The NNEXPLORE program continues on the WIYN 3.5m, with 30 nights available for exoplanet programs - including the recently commissioned precision RV instrument NEID: https://www.wiyn.org/Instruments/wiynneid.html and https://www.wiyn.org/Instruments/wiynneid_call2022a.html. WIYN selections come with modest monetary award for analysis, publications costs and incidental expenses. https://www.wiyn.org/

CTIO/SMARTS 1.5m+CHIRON

NNEXPLORE offers observing time on the CTIO/SMARTS 1.5m with the precision radial-velocity spectrometer CHIRON, with 300 hours (equivalent to 30 nights of service observing) of observing time in 2022A. For more information on the SMARTS 1.5m telescope and CHIRON, see: http://www.astro.gsu.edu/~thenry/SMARTS/.

MINERVA-Australis

As part of the NNEXPLORE program, NASA is continuing in a partnership with the MINERVA-Australis consortium that began in 2020B. That agreement continues in Semester 2022A, with 300 hours of observing time open to NNEXPLORE proposals. MINERVA-Australis is a dedicated exoplanet observatory operated by the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) in Queensland, Australia. The facility is located at USQ's Mt. Kent Observatory, and saw first light in quarter two 2018; commissioning of the facility was completed in mid-2019. MINERVA-Australis currently consists of 5 (0.7m) PlaneWave CDK700 telescopes; these telescopes have two ports, allowing each to be used for either spectroscopic or photometric observations. A summary of the facility and its capabilities can be found in the commissioning paper by Addison et al. 2019 (https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2019PASP..131k5003A) and at https://nexsci.caltech.edu/missions/Minerva/. Proposers may observe targets on the updated list of Minerva-Australis collaboration targets (https://drive.google.com/file/d/18t3pyxLNpu8_ZnyAXbtN4-yTdnRyR3Wz/view), but proposers are asked to communicate with the Minerva-Australis team on any publications resulting from data from the observatory. The photometric channel is capable of milli-magnitude precision and currently the light from four telescopes can be combined onto one R=75,000 echelle spectrograph for radial velocity precisions of 1-10 m/s depending on the target brightness and how many telescopes are combined.

High resolution imaging on WIYN, Gemini-North and Gemini-South

NN-EXPLORE is supporting community observations with three high-resolution imagers - NESSI on WIYN, 'Alopeke on Gemini-North and Zorro on Gemini-South. In speckle mode they provide simultaneous two-color diffraction-limited optical imaging (FWHM~0.02" at 650nm) of targets as faint as V~13/17 over a 1.5" field of view. Wide-field mode provides simultaneous two-color imaging in standard SDSS filters over a 60" field of view. For further information see https://www.wiyn.org/Instruments/wiynnessi.html,https://www.gemini.edu/instrumentation/alopeke-zorro and contact the PI: Steve Howell (NASA Ames Research Center). The full 2022A Gemini call for proposals is at: https://www.gemini.edu/observing/phase-i/standard-semester-program/2022a-call-proposals


2) Exoplanet Explorers (ExoExplorers) Seminar Series: Soliciting Both “ExoGuides” and “ExoExplorers” for 2nd Cohort (January-June 2022) [ExoGuide nomination deadline is September 10, 2021. ExoExplorer application deadline is September 23, 2021]

This ExoExplorers program, sponsored by NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program Office and the ExoPAG Executive Committee, will focus on the professional development of ~12 graduate student and/or postdoc researchers (“ExoExplorers”) by raising their visibility in the exoplanet community via a series of open webinars, helping them build internal and external research networks, and providing them with an opportunity to learn from the experiences of senior exoplanet astronomers, or “ExoGuides.”

For more details on the program, see: https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/exep/exopag/exoexplorers/

Questions on either call? Please see our FAQ page.

Call for ExoGuide nominations

Additional details for the ExoGuides call can be found at: https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/exep/exopag/exoexplorers/exoexplorers-exoguide-call/

As an ExoGuide, we ask that you present one hour-long seminar directly to the cohort that speaks to your experiences as a scientist, and that you participate in one hour-long informal discussion with the cohort. The ExoExplorer organizers are eager to showcase broad, diverse perspectives and therefore encourage you to suggest any topic you might find engaging to the exoplanet community.

ExoGuides should be faculty, staff, or equivalent career stage. We welcome both exoplanet and exoplanet-adjacent scientists (e.g., disks, stars) from any institution (US and international).

Nominations should be submitted via this form by September 10, 2021: https://forms.gle/5LKUKjohwbhKGk7Z7.

Self-nominations are welcome. The organizers will review nominations and reach out to potential ExoGuides in October and November.

Call for ExoExplorer applications

Additional details for the ExoExplorers call can be found at: https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/exep/exopag/exoexplorers/exoexplorers-call/

Postdocs and graduate students at US and international1 institutions are invited to participate in the second Exoplanet Explorers (ExoExplorers) Science Series.

Members of this cohort, which will run from January 2022 to June 2022, will each present a seminar on their research to the larger exoplanet community. Each of the ExoExplorers will receive $1,000 for the purchase of one presentation of their research results, presented as a part of the Science Series2.

In addition, the ExoExplorers will be invited to participate in:

  1. Weekly interactions between members of the cohort
  2. Monthly informal group discussions with prominent scientists (“ExoGuides”) in the fields of exoplanet science and diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA), and individual conversations with other researchers
  3. One to two professional development training sessions on topics to be decided by the cohort, such as proposal writing, building inclusive collaborations, and public speaking
  4. The development and/or execution of cohort-driven activities pertaining to DEIA.

The activities described above will largely be shaped by the unique interests and needs of the cohort. Therefore, we seek applicants who are actively seeking to enrich and enhance their exoplanet science and DEIA in the broader exoplanet community via engaging with each other, as well as with the mentors.

Application instructions can be found on the ExoExplorer page.

Applications are due September 23, 2021.

-- The ExoExplorer steering and organizing committees

1 NASA places restrictions on interactions with several countries: Iran, Syria, North Korea, and China. If you are a citizen of one of these countries or are currently employed by an institution in one of these countries, please contact exoexplorers_questions@jpl.nasa.gov for guidance.

2 At this time, we are uncertain whether payment to participants from non-US institutions will be possible. We are investigating payment options, and will post updates to the website and the announcements list as available.


3) Input to ExEP Science Gap List (Deadline September 30, 2021)

The NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program (ExEP) is seeking community input on the ExEP Science Gap List (SGL) through September 30, 2021, with the goal of providing an updated version in early 2022.

The current 2021 version of the SGL is posted on the ExEP Program Science page (https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/exep/science-overview/) at: https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/system/internal_resources/details/original/1877_ExEP_SciGapList_2021.pdf

The Science Gap List (SGL) tabulates program “science gaps”, which are defined as the difference between knowledge needed to define requirements for specified future NASA exoplanet missions and the current state of the art, or knowledge which is needed to enhance the science return of current and future NASA exoplanet missions. Making the gap list public signals to the broader community where focused science investigations are needed over the next 3-5 years in support of ExEP goals. The ExEP Science Gap List represents activities and investigations that will advance the goals of NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program, and provides brief summaries in a convenient tabular format. The ExEP Science Gap list is meant to assist proposers in describing the relevance of their work to Program goals as they respond to SMD ROSES and mission observing proposal solicitations. All ExEP approaches, activities, and decisions are guided by science priorities, and those priorities are presented and summarized in the ExEP Science Gap List.

Please contact ExEP scientists Karl Stapelfeldt (Karl.R.Stapelfeldt@jpl.nasa.gov) & Eric Mamajek (Eric.Mamajek@jpl.nasa.gov) with any input for revisions to the SGL.

Later this year, ExEP plans to update both the Science Gap List and Science Plan Appendix to take into account the Decadal Survey recommendations and NASA’s response. The Science Plan Appendix is a more comprehensive document that lays out the scientific challenges that must be addressed to advance the goals of NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program (last version 2018).

The ExEP Exoplanet Program Science documents are available at: https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/exep/science-overview/


4) NASA Hubble Fellowship Applications are Open (Due Nov. 4, 2021)

Applications for the 2022 NASA Hubble Fellowship Program (NHFP) are now open with a due date of November 4, 2021. The Announcement of Opportunity can be viewed here: https://www.stsci.edu/stsci-research/fellowships/nasa-hubble-fellowship-program/announcement-of-opportunity

The NHFP provides an opportunity for recent postdoctoral scientists to conduct independent research that contributes to any area of NASA Astrophysics. The research will be carried out at United States host institutions chosen by each fellow, subject to a limitation on the number of fellows that can be hosted by any one institution that can be hosted by any one institution.

The NHFP provides salary support plus benefits for up to three years, and an additional allowance for travel and other research costs. Contingent upon NASA funding, 24 new fellowships will be awarded for 2022. Please note that for this announcement, eligibility has been extended to four years from PhD to account for COVID hardships.

The NHFP is administered for NASA by the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), in collaboration with the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI) at the California Institute of Technology and the Chandra X-ray Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Awards will be made to support each NHFP Fellow through a designated host institution.

Questions: nhfp@stsci.edu


5) Astrophysics Explorer Solicitations Released

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is releasing two solicitations for Astrophysics Explorers Science Investigations. The Astrophysics Explorers Program conducts Principal Investigator (PI)-led space science investigations relevant to SMD's astrophysics programs. Astrophysics Explorers investigations must address NASA’s strategic objective to discover how the universe works, explore how it began and evolved, and search for life on planets around other stars.

Release Date: August 24, 2021
Mandatory Notice of Intent to Propose Due: October 14, 2021
Proposals Due: December 9, 2021

NASA will release concurrently the 2021 Astrophysics Medium Explorer (MIDEX) Announcement of Opportunity (NNH21ZDA018O), and the 2021 Astrophysics Explorers Mission of Opportunity (MO) Program Element Appendix Q (PEA-Q) (NNH17ZDA004O-APEXMO2) as Amendment 20 to the NASA Third Stand Alone Missions of Opportunity Notice (SALMON-3) Announcement of Opportunity NNH17ZDA004O.

These solicitations will be open through December 9, 2021. The NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES) is the official NASA source for the full text of the solicitations and any future amendments or clarifications, therefore, please visit: http://nspires.nasaprs.com/ and search on the solicitation number or use the following direct, short URLS

  1. Solicitation Number: NNH21ZDA018O (Medium Explorer AO) available at https://go.nasa.gov/21APMIDEX
  2. Solicitation Number: NNH17ZDA004O-APEXMO2 (Amendment 20 to the SALMON-3 AO: NNH17ZDA004O) available at https://go.nasa.gov/21APEXMO2

A joint Preproposal Conference will be held via teleconference/WebEx in September 2021. The forthcoming date, agenda, and logistical information for this session maybe found by visiting the Astrophysics Explorers Program Acquisition Homepage: https://explorers.larc.nasa.gov/2021APMIDEX/.

Prospective investigators from any category of organizations or institutions, U.S. or non-U.S., are welcome to respond to this solicitation. Specific categories of organizations and institutions that are welcome to respond include, but are not limited to, educational, industrial, and not-for-profit organizations, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), University Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs), NASA Centers, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and other Government agencies. Non-U.S. organizations may participate on a no-exchange-of-funds basis.

NASA expects to select approximately two to three Astrophysics Explorers MIDEX missions for Phase A studies, and down select approximately one MIDEX mission to proceed into Phase B and subsequent mission phases. NASA expects to select approximately two or more Astrophysics Explorers Missions of Opportunity for Phase A studies, and down select approximately one or more Missions of Opportunity to proceed into Phase B and subsequent mission phases.

The 2021 Medium Explorer AO incorporates a number of changes relative i) to the 2019 Explorers Program AO and ii) to the Draft 2021 Medium Explorer (MIDEX) AO. All proposers must read the 2021 AO carefully, and all proposals must comply with the requirements, constraints, and guidelines contained within the AO.

The 2021 Mission of Opportunity SALMON-3 PEA incorporates a number of changes relative i) to the 2019 Astrophysics Explorers Mission of Opportunity solicitation and ii) to the Draft 2021 Astrophysics Explorers Mission of Opportunity PEA. All proposers must read the SALMON-3 AO and PEA Q carefully, and all proposals must comply with the requirements, constraints, and guidelines contained within them.

Mandatory Notices of Intent are required from proposers to either or both Announcements of Opportunity by 11:59 pm Eastern time on October 14, 2021 and proposals are due by the same hour on December 9, 2021.

Comments and questions may be addressed by E-mail to the Astrophysics Explorers Program Scientist, Dr. Linda S. Sparke,(subject line to read "Astrophysics Explorers MIDEX AO" or "Astrophysics Explorers MO PEA" as appropriate). Proposers are encouraged to send comments and questions early, so that they may be addressed at the Preproposal Conference.

Responses to all inquiries will be posted at the Questions and Answers (QAs) location of the Astrophysics Explorers Program Acquisition website at https://explorers.larc.nasa.gov/2021APMIDEX/. The period for questions/comments will close three weeks before the proposal due date, and the period for responses will close ten days before the proposal due date. Anonymity of persons/institutions who submit questions will be preserved.


6) NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) Proposal Call 2022A (Proposals due Oct. 1, 2021)

Call for proposals for NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) for 2022A semester: http://irtfweb.ifa.hawaii.edu/observing/callForProposals.php

The due date for the 2022A semester (February 1, 2022 to July 31, 2022) is Friday, October 1, 2021. See online submission form (http://irtfweb.ifa.hawaii.edu/observing/applicationForms.php), which is available for proposal submission from 12:00AM on September 07, 2021 until 5:00PM on October 01, 2021 HST.

NASA IRTF Fall 2021 Newsletter: http://irtfweb.ifa.hawaii.edu/information/newsletter.php?2021B

Available IRTF instruments: http://irtfweb.ifa.hawaii.edu/instruments/

IRTF Facility Instruments:

IRTF Visitor Instrument:


7) Twinkle Exoplanet Conference (Sept. 29, 2021)

"Dear exoplanet colleagues,

We invite you to join our upcoming conference, "Twinkle and the Next Generation of Exoplanet Scientists" (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/twinkle-and-the-next-generation-of-exoplanet-scientists-tickets-165516274633), taking place on Wednesday Sept. 29, 2021 from 12pm–2:15pm Eastern time (EDT). The conference will focus on the next generation of exoplanet research driven by early-career scientists (within and beyond the Twinkle collaboration), and will highlight new opportunities for postdocs and students to participate in Twinkle activities.

Please see the attached agenda for the speaker lineup and register via the event page for connection info: https://www.tinyurl.com/twinkleconference

We look forward to seeing you there!

On behalf of the Twinkle team,
Max
Max Joshua max@bssl.space"


ExoPAG News and Announcements - Archive


NExSS

The Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) is a research coordination network whose role is to form a cohesive community of exoplanet researchers that transcends disciplines and funding stovepipes. It is led by teams funded by NASA Research & Analysis Programs from the Astrophysics, Planetary Science, Heliophysics and Earth Science Divisions that conduct interdisciplinary exoplanet research. NExSS helps lead or facilitate white papers, workshops, conferences, science and communications working groups, and other community activities that support exoplanet research.

ExoPAG overview top image - PIA23002 K2-138 6 Planets Artwork