NASA selected nine research teams from seven states through its first Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) Cooperative Agreement Notice, bringing researchers together in a collaborative virtual setting to focus on questions concerning space science and human space exploration.
SSERVI teams address scientific and technology development questions pertaining to the Moon, near-Earth asteroids, the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos, and their near space environments. Although primarily addressing plans described in their proposals, they also partner with other SSERVI teams and SSERVI international partners to create cross-disciplinary efforts beyond their original efforts.
Based and managed at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., the institute supports scientific research to complement and extend existing NASA science and technology programs. SSERVI represents an expansion of NASA’s Lunar Science Institute, established at Ames in 2008, to include other solar system human exploration destinations.
The selected SSERVI member teams are:
– Institute for the Science of Exploration Targets: Origin, Evolution and Discovery; principal investigator William Bottke, Southwest Research Institute in Boulder CO.
Focus: Formation of terrestrial planets and asteroid belt, modeling of the Moon’s origin and Phobos/Deimos, history of NEAs and lunar bombardment, NEA origins, identification and characterization
– Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science; principal investigator Daniel Britt, University of Central Florida in Orlando FL.
Focus: Studies of physical properties of regoliths: geotechnical properties, microgravity effects, impact ejecta, dynamics, hydration and weathering of NEAs, charging and mobilization of dust
– Volatiles, Regolith and Thermal Investigations Consortium for Exploration and Science; principal investigator Andy Rivkin, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel MD.
Focus: Volatiles sources/sinks/processes and interaction with regoliths, evolution of regoliths on all target bodies, identification and exploitation of resources
– Dynamic Response of Environments at Asteroids, the Moon, and moons of Mars; principal investigator William Farrell, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt MD. Focus: Plasma interactions, exospheres, Radiation of exposed materials, space weathering, solar storms/solar wind
– Remote, In Situ and Synchrotron Studies for Science and Exploration; principal investigator Timothy Glotch, Stony Brook University, NY.
Focus: Remote sensing of airless bodies, field operations and metrics for human exploration, reactivity and toxicity of regoliths, synchrotron analyses of samples, volcanics and impact crater analog research
– Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration; principal investigator Jennifer Heldmann, NASA Ames Research Center, CA. Focus: Field operations and metrics for human exploration and analog research.
– Institute for Modeling Plasma, Atmospheres and Cosmic Dust; principal investigator Mihaly Horanyi, University of Colorado in Boulder CO.
Focus: Small scale impact studies/regolith gardening, plasma charging and mobilization of dust, near surface plasma environments, new advancements on dust accelerator facility
– Inner Solar System Impact Processes; principal investigator David Kring, Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston TX.
Focus: Impact history and processes, geochemistry of regoliths, age dating of regolith materials, NEA identification and characterization
– Evolution and Environment of Exploration Destinations: Science and Engineering Synergism; principal investigator Carle Pieters, Brown University in Providence RI.
Focus: Thermal/chemical evolution of planetary bodies, origin and evolution of volatiles, remote sensing, space weathering of regoliths