For scientists, science never sleeps and the exoplanet results keep coming in, as was reported in the recent AAS Anchorage meeting. For us Program folks, however, the summer is an interlude between budget cycles when we don’t yet know what plans we can execute in the coming year. As Doug Hudgins reported in his community letter (4/19/2012 http://exep.jpl.nasa.gov/exopag/hudginsLetter/), the decision has been taken to not issue an RFI for mission concepts as was discussed in the last Newsletter edition. It is our plan to establish Science and Technology Definition Teams to work with the Program over the next couple years to help define mission concepts and the technology development needed to prepare for a future Exoplanet Mission. The number of teams, schedule, depth of the effort are all budget dependent, and these things will be worked out over the coming months as the FY13 budget plan becomes clear.
Also, as part of an effort to broaden the base of community involvement in exoplanet science, the next ExoPAG meeting will be held October 13-14 in Reno, NV, associated with the 44th Annual DPS Meeting. Details and agenda will be posted at http://exep.jpl.nasa.gov/exopag/.
Finally, I bid a very fond farewell to ExEP as I embark on the retirement phase of life in the next month. Stay tuned for exciting developments as the program evolves into the next phase.