AIDA Call For Experiment Ideas - Submission date extended

Call for Experiment Ideas 2013
1 February 2013

ESA is opening a Call for Experiment Ideas in relation to the ¨AIDA¨ joint asteroid impact mission concept. Both European and non-European institutions are invited to participate. The Call will help ESA map the interests of the different communities (asteroid risk assessment, hypervelocity impacts and debris, and detector technology among others) that are addressed by the ¨AIDA¨ project.

Submission date extended to 15th March 2013


The Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) consists of two independent but mutually supporting mission concepts, one of which is the asteroid kinetic impactor and the other is the characterisation spacecraft. These two missions are, respectively, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) study undertaken by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory with support from members of NASA centres including Goddard Space Flight Center, Johnson Space Center, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the European Space Agency's Asteroid Impact Monitoring (AIM) mission study, supported by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and the Observatoire de la Côte d´Azur (OCA).

DART is planned to be the first ever space mission to demonstrate asteroid deflection. This will be done using a binary asteroid target: a single spacecraft will impact the smaller member of the binary asteroid and then ground-based observations will be used to make the required measurements of the orbital deflection, by measuring the orbital period change of the binary asteroid. AIM is a rendezvous mission, which focuses on the monitoring aspects i.e. in-situ measurements of the key physical properties of a binary asteroid playing a role in the system's dynamic behaviour. The AIDA mission (currently in the feasibility study phase) would target the binary asteroid 65803 Didymos (1996 GT) around its 2022 close Earth encounter.

Details of the mission concepts are provided in the supplementary document, « The AIDA project options ».

Theories and tools developed to understand impact physics are extensively used in an industrial context such as e.g. in the oil and gas industry, in addition to being a field of major interest for space research i.e. Solar System science, exploration and resource utilisation.  The AIDA mission is expected to help test these theories, models and tools, Thus, it has the potential to address many technological and scientific goals serving several communities. .  ESA´s Director General strategic plan, Agenda 2015, mandates ESA to investigate such opportunities.

Research and technical focus of the Call

ESA is inviting submissions of experiment ideas on topics including:

  • impact and collisional physics,
  • applied planetary science,
  • planetary defence,
  • human exploration and
  • technology innovation in spacecraft operations and navigation.

The focus of this AO is on the following aspects:

  1. Space-borne experiments that will simultaneously help achieve the goals of the AIDA mission while using the AIDA platform to demonstrate new payload technologies (micro devices, new detectors etc.).
  2. Ground-based experiments that may enhance the mission return,

Ideas for technical methods to further exploit the data obtained during the AIDA mission, will also be considered.

The proposed experiments should be aimed at a significant advance beyond the established state of the art. It should be compact, lean and efficient, and be coherent with the scope of a small space mission (150 MEUR range for each of the two spacecraft, including payload and operations).

How will the results be used by ESA

The outcome of the Call for Experiment Ideas will be used by ESA to assess the community’s interest in the use of the AIDA mission as a platform for research and technical demonstrations. Specifically, it will be used to assess interests in research fields and instrument/payload types, and to define the scope of a potential full Announcement of Opportunity for AIDA payload experiments/instruments.

The submitted proposals will therefore not be eligible for ESA funding at this stage, but could be invited to submit a full proposal if the type of experiment is defined among the project priorities.

Form of the proposal

This Call for Experiment Ideas opens on 1st February 2013 and will be closed on 15th March 2013 12.00 PM GMT. The requested outline proposal should be no more than
five (5) pages in length and should contain information on:

  1. Principal Investigator, Co-Investigators and their countries of origin
  2. Type of experiment proposed (Ground / Space)
  3. Objectives and requirements addressed by the experiment
  4. Experiment scientific/technological performance
  5. Technology Readiness Level
  6. For payload experiments, key design parameters (e.g. mass, power, data, thermal, accommodation, operations)

For a given proposal, the Principal Investigator (PI) acts as the single point of contact between the experiment partners and ESA. The coordinator of the experiment would be responsible for the overall planning of the experiment and for building up the experiment consortium that will do the work. The size, scope and internal organisation of experiments can vary depending on the scenario and on the research focus. An experiment idea can be submitted by a single academic institution.

A list of project names together with a brief one-sentence description of each of them (provided by the submitting team) and the name of the entities participating in the proposal will be published in ESA´s website. Proponents are required to state explicitly in their proposal if any restrictions apply to publishing such information. All other information submitted to ESA within the proposal will be treated in confidence and Intellectual Property ownership will remain with the entities submitting the proposal in all cases.

Submission of the proposal

The proposal shall be submitted sending the document (in pdf format) as email attachment to:

AIDA mail

IMPORTANT – Eligibility Criteria

Experiment ideas will be considered acceptable by ESA if:

  1. The Principal Investigator is affiliated (e.g. post-doc or professor) to an academic institution i.e. university or research institute.
  2. At least one partner (academic or industrial) in the consortium is based in a country belonging to the EU, Switzerland or Norway.
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