The CSA would like to extend Canada’s scientific participation in NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission by supporting the opportunity presented by the the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Research Announcement entitled Mars Science Laboratory Participating Scientist Program (Solicitation: NNH15ZDA001N-MSLPSP).

The MSL Curiosity rover landed on Mars in August 2012, with the overall science objective to explore and quantitatively assess a local region in Gale Crater, Mars, as a potential habitat for life, past or present. This mission has been successfully operated for over two years by a large team of scientists and engineers, using an integrated suite of instruments on a rover platform. The CSA has contributed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) investigation led by Principal Investigator (PI) Ralf Gellert (University of Guelph). A list of the prelanding mission description papers and key postlanding science results published by the science team can be found. NASA MSL has been approved for its first extended mission until September 2017.

This mission presents a significant opportunity to advance scientific knowledge of Mars, one of the priorities of the CSA Exploration Program. The Participating Scientist Program is also an opportunity for Canadian researchers and highly qualified personnel (HQP) to gain experience in planetary science operations. Planetary mission science operations are an area where the CSA has identified a need to build capacity in Canada to support future Exploration activities. For this reason, the CSA is accepting proposals from scientists who have not previously participated in Mars missions and are eligible per Section 3.1, as well as proposals for new investigations from Participating Scientists who were previously selected for the MSL primary mission and remain eligible per Section 3.1.

This Announcement of Opportunity (AO) is consistent with the terms and conditions of the CSA Class Grant and Contribution (G&C) Program to Support Research, Awareness and Learning in Space Science and Technology – Research Component.

Applicants are asked to read the following AO thoroughly before submitting their applications. This AO was prepared to help applicants complete the application process, and outlines key elements, including mandatory criteria for eligibility, details on eligible projects and the selection process. In the event of any discrepancies between this AO and the individual funding agreements governing a project, the latter document(s) will take precedence.

Read the full Announcement of Opportunity.