NASA JPL asks industry to design camera that enables safe landing on Jupiter moon of Europa
PASADENA, Calif. – U.S. government space electro-optics researchers are asking industry to develop a special space-qualified camera to help a future unmanned spacecraft to land safely on the rugged terrain of Europa -- a large moon orbiting Jupiter that may be able to support life.
Officials of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., issued a solicitation last week (RFP_CR-2671-959125) for the Technology Development for Europa Lander Descent Camera project.
JPL is a federally funded research and development center of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and is pre-phase A development for a lander mission to Europa.
The NASA Europa mission is scheduled for sometime in the 2020s, and will seek to conduct detailed reconnaissance of this moon of Jupiter, and investigate whether the icy moon could harbor conditions suitable for life.
Safe and accurate landing on the hazardous terrain of Europa presents several challenges that require a lander descent camera to provide images for localization and velocimetry during the deorbit, descent, and landing (DDL) phase of the Europa mission.
Last summer JPL issued a separate solicitation (RFP_MD-2673-949208) for light detection and ranging (lidar) electro-optical sensor technology to help the future Europa spacecraft land safely and accurately on the Europa surface.
Last week's RFP is for the first phase of the Europa Lander Descent Camera project, which seeks to arrive at a camera design rugged enough to operate in the extreme Jovian/Europan environments and compatible with requirements of the future Europa mission.
JPL experts want a company to conduct detailed design studies for components, analyses, and tests of environmental impacts on the Europa landing camera, and refine camera design options before they decide on a landing camera procurement at the end of the program's second phase.
Not all technological details of this solicitation are available to the general public because some of the program's documents are export controlled, JPL officials explain. Interested proposers should email JPL Subcontracts Manager Crystal Ramirez at Crystal.Ramirez@jpl.nasa.gov to receive the solicitation documents.
Companies interested should send proposals to JPL no later than 8 Jan. 2018. For questions or concerns contact NASA's Mary Helen Ruiz by email at email@example.com, or by phone at 818-354-7532. Also contact Crystal Ramirez by email at Crystal.Ramirez@jpl.nasa.gov, or by phone at 818-354-1301.
More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/notices/e26c83deab7ba5ce2d4350d8a68a7879.
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