4 February 2015

NASA-NSF Exoplanet Observational Research Partnership

James Neff National Science Foundation

In its report New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Astro2010 Decadal Survey committee recommended that NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) support an "aggressive program of ground-based high-precision radial velocity surveys of nearby stars" in order to validate and characterize exoplanet candidates. In response, NSF's Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST) and NASA's Astrophysics Division (APD) have initiated the NASA-NSF Partnership for Exoplanet Observational Research (NN-EXPLORE), with the primary objective to enable a community-based exoplanet research program in support of NSF research interests and NASA mission goals through the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) share of the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope on Kitt Peak. The cornerstone of the NN-EXPLORE partnership will be a new, NASA-funded WIYN facility instrument: the Extreme Precision Doppler Spectrometer (EPDS).

NN-EXPLORE comprises two stages:

Stage 1 — FY 2015 to FY 2018

  • An exoplanet-targeted guest observer (GO) program with existing facility instrumentation on WIYN using the NOAO share of WIYN time. Semester 2015B is the initial observing period for this program. Refer to the proposal call on the NOAO proposal information webpage for more information on proposal requirements and the GO program. The due date for observing proposals is 31 March 2015.
  • A NASA solicitation to acquire an Extreme Precision Doppler Spectrometer (EPDS) for ground-based follow-up studies for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission. The instrument solicitation can be found on the NASA Science For Researchers webpage. Proposals to this program will be taken by a two-step process in which a notice of intent is replaced by a mandatory Step-1 proposal. Step-1 proposals are due 20 March 2015, and Step-2 proposals are due 24 April 2015.

Stage 2 — FY 2018 to FY 2023

  • An exoplanet-targeted GO and guaranteed-time observing (GTO) program at WIYN with the EPDS instrument and existing instrumentation on WIYN using NOAO's share of WIYN time.

For additional information, please contact Douglas M. Hudgins (NASA) and/or James Neff (NSF).