NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) is pleased to present the 2017 Annual Report. Each year brings new scientific discoveries, technological breakthroughs, and collaborations. The integration of basic research and development, industry and academic partnerships, plus the leveraging of existing technologies, has further opened a scientific window into human exploration. SSERVI sponsorship by the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) continues to enable the exchange of insights between the human exploration and space science communities, paving a clearer path for future space exploration.
SSERVI provides a unique environment for scientists and engineers to interact within multidisciplinary research teams regardless of their physical location. As a virtual institute, the best teaming arrangements can be made irrespective of the geographical location of individuals or laboratory facilities. The interdisciplinary science that ensues from virtual and in-person interactions, both within the teams and across team lines, provides answers to questions that many times cannot be foreseen. Much of this research would not be accomplished except for the catalyzing, collaborative environment enabled by SSERVI. The SSERVI Central Office, located at NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, CA, provides the leadership, guidance and technical support that steers the virtual institute.
In 2017 SSERVI added four new U.S. teams, bringing the institute total to 13 U.S. teams, and 10 international partnerships. International partnerships collaborate with SSERVI domestic teams on a no-exchange of funds basis, but they bring a richness to the institute that is priceless. The international partner teams interact with the domestic teams in a number of ways, including sharing students, scientific insights, and access to facilities.
SSERVI’s domestic teams compete for five-year funding opportunities through proposals to a Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) released by NASA every few years. Having overlapping CANs allows SSERVI to be more responsive to any change in direction NASA might experience, while providing operational continuity for the institute. Allowing new teams to blend with the more seasoned teams preserves corporate memory and expands the realm of collaborative possibilities. A key component of SSERVI’s mission is to grow and maintain an integrated research community focused on questions related to the Moon, Near-Earth asteroids, and the moons of Mars.
Understanding that human and robotic exploration is most successful as an international endeavor, SSERVI is pleased to have a thriving community of ten international partnerships.
In this report, you will find an overview of the 2017 leadership activities of the SSERVI Central Office, reports prepared by the U.S. teams, and achievements from several of the SSERVI international partners. Reflecting on the past year’s discoveries and advancements serves as a potent reminder that there is still a great deal to learn about NASA’s target destinations. Innovation in the way we access, sample, measure, visualize, and assess our target destinations is needed for further discovery. At the same time, let us celebrate how far we have come, and strongly encourage a new generation that will make the most of future opportunities.
Next year promises to bring its own discoveries and breakthroughs as we mount field expeditions, conduct laboratory experiments and design theoretical models to probe our origins and evolution. Please follow along by visiting our website as well as by subscribing to our Twitter feed and other social media sites.
Posted by: Soderman/SSERVI Staff