for cost improvements. As arrays increase in size there is a need for improved techniques to modulate and encode the detector signals.
Panel Discussion 5: Earth and Planetary Remote Sensing Observation
The session covering remote sensing of Earth and other planetary bodies within the solar system was moderated by David Kusnierkiewicz.
Chris Webster (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and Keith Raney (Applied Physics Laboratory) jointly gave the presentation, which was a broad survey of Earth and planetary remote sensing instruments and sensors. The presentation began with a summary of the challenges inherent in remote planetary missions including developing for mission-unique environments. They showed examples of typical payload suites of Earth and planetary science spacecraft to emphasize the diversity of the instruments carried. They also cataloged the current and proposed NASA Earth and Planetary science missions.
The presentation gave a summary review of the NASA roadmap with focus on the Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors technology area. They noted potential gaps such as the possibility of including high-bandwidth downlink under Electronics (8.1.2). They also noted that innovative architectures (as opposed to specific technology elements) might be missing using the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission as an example of a paradigm shift that occurred under 8.1.4 Microwave and Radio Transmitters and Receivers. They also suggested more discussion of the impacts of enabling technologies from other roadmaps using examples of improved communications and reduced launch costs. They believe that NASA should strive to identify technology push factors for every one of the 11 pathways (in 6 themes) in the TA08 roadmap. Finally, they suggested that Tier 1 missions not now in NASA’s funding plan should also be considered in regard to new technologies.
The presenters then gave their views on the direction that NASA should take with technology development. They emphasized the comment in the roadmap that a healthy technology R&D program requires three elements: competition, funding, and peer review. They noted that the recent Planetary Decadal Survey suggested that 6 to 8 percent of the total NASA Planetary Science Division budget should be dedicated to technology development and that resource allocation should be carefully protected. They noted that affordability is a fundamental factor given the recent descopes suggested by the Planetary Decadal Survey and NASA’s Earth Science budget proposal.
Panel Discussion 6: In Situ Surface Physical, Chemical, and Biological Sensors
The final session covered interactive measurements of non-Earth bodies within the solar system and was moderated by Daniel Winterhalter (JPL).
Jeffrey Bada (University of California, San Diego) was the first presenter and he focused on the challenge of detecting organic and biological matter. He noted that on Earth, a pre-biotic phase led to a pre-RNA world, which led to an RNA world. The RNA world would have been considered an early stage of life on Earth. That led to a DNA/protein world that is the basis for all terrestrial biology. All of this was assumed to take place in liquid water which is considered the most abundant solvent in the universe. Bada suggested that the search for weird life based on some other biochemistry or solvent should not be included because we do not know what to look for. Instead he suggested that future missions follow the nitrogen. He noted that in carbonaceous meteorites as well as in prebiotic simulation synthesis experiments, there are at least 50 to 70 different amino acids, while in biology as we know it there are only 20 different amino acids in proteins. He suggested that a simple total amine detector the size of a box of stick matches would be a good initial instrument. He believes that a Mars organic analyzer the size of a shoebox is the next step as it can address the issue of homochirality, which is a unique characteristic of amino acids on Earth and presumably life elsewhere as well.
Michael Hecht (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) gave the second presentation, which began with a quick review of the in situ instrument roadmap. He noted some sensor challenges that were not in the roadmap include in situ geochronology and ultra-high-resolution mass spectroscopy (resolve isobars). He felt there were also system challenges not covered in the roadmap including the need to avoid alteration in Mars sample return curation (in situ); extreme environments (Venus, Titan); kW and mW power sources; non-solar, non-nuclear power sources (e.g.,