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Announcement of Opportunity for Interdisciplinary Scientists in the Mars Express mission

Announcement of Opportunity for Interdisciplinary Scientists in the Mars Express mission

15 October 2015

This Announcement of Opportunity invites the scientific community to participate in the Mars Express mission in the role of Interdisciplinary Scientists, to foster the data exploitation and augment the overall scientific return of the mission. The deadline for receipt of mandatory Letters of Intent is 15 November 2015, 12:00 noon CET; the deadline for submission of proposals is 15 December 2015, 12:00 noon CET.

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Mars Express is an ESA mission that, since its arrival at Mars in 2004, has been exploring the surface, the atmosphere and the plasma environment of the planet, as well as the two moons Phobos and Deimos.

The present Announcement of Opportunity (AO) solicits proposals for the appointment of up to three Interdisciplinary Scientists (IDSs) for the Mars Express mission. The IDSs should contribute to the mission by covering broad science themes and taking part in the analysis of data from different Mars Express instruments, putting them in a broad context. The IDSs may also wish to undertake specific and time-limited tasks in areas such as modelling of the planet and its environment and science planning.

The present AO is dedicated to the following specific scientific areas:

  • Mars aeronomy, plasma environment and its interaction with solar wind with emphasis on the use of data collected by MEX and by other missions operating at Mars;
  • Critical analysis of the climatology data sets derived from MEX observations (e.g., temperature, dust loading, abundance of minor species) with the eventual goal of their archiving in an online database;
  • Mars atmosphere evolution in the context of comparative planetology of terrestrial planets.

This AO is open to the worldwide scientific community. While Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs are excluded from this call, Co-Investigators of the Mars Express instrument teams are eligible for IDS positions.

The successful candidates will be appointed as IDSs for a renewable period of three years. ESA will not fund the activities of the IDSs and each proposer is responsible for securing his/her own funding from other sources.

Details about the Mars Express mission as well as the roles of the IDSs are provided in the reference documents, which are available below.

AO schedule and deadlines

15 October 2015 Release of this AO
15 November 2015 at noon (CET) Mandatory Letters of Intent due
15 December 2015 at noon (CET) Proposals due
1st quarter 2016 Appointment of IDSs

Reference documents

The following documents are provided with this AO:

Letter of invitation from the Director of Science and Robotic Exploration
Announcement of Opportunity for IDSs in the Mars Express mission
Mars Express Science Management Plan (SMP); ESA/SPC(97)40, 1997
Mars Express. The Scientific Payload; ESA SP-1240, 2004
Mars Express. The Scientific Investigations; ESA SP-1291, 2009

Note: The last two documents, ESA SP-1240 and ESA SP-1291, are still valid with two exceptions: the short wavelength part of the OMEGA SWIR channel (0.93-2.73 µm) and the SPICAM UV channel are currently non-operational.

Letter of Intent

Prospective proposers must submit a mandatory Letter of Intent (LoI) by the deadline indicated in the schedule above. Proposals not preceded by a corresponding LoI will not be considered. LoIs are limited in length to 2 A4 pages (minimum font size 11 pt), and  their purpose is to allow ESA to prepare for the evaluation process.

Letters of intent must contain: the proposal title, the name and contact information of the proposer, and a synthetic description of the scientific objectives.

It is understood that the proposal's content may evolve between submission of the LoI and submission of the actual proposal.

Contents of the proposal

Proposals submitted in response to the AO are limited in length to 14 A4 pages (minimum font size 11 pt). The information to be provided in the proposal is detailed in the AO document.

Letter of Intent and proposal submission

Letters of Intent and proposals must be submitted electronically in PDF format (note: the file size cannot exceed 5 MB) to the following e-mail address:

and according to the deadlines listed in the AO schedule above.

Proposers will receive confirmation upon successful receipt of their LoIs and proposals.


Further queries related to this AO should be addressed to:

Luigi Colangeli
Head of the Coordination Office for the Scientific Programme
P.O. Box 299
2200 AG Noordwijk
The Netherlands

Last Update: 1 September 2019
11-Aug-2020 04:47 UT

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