The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has released, through the public tendering service MERX, a request for proposals (RFP) to plan and execute Analogue Missions. Analogue Missions are simulations of space mission operations that take place at analogue sites on Earth; these can also be thought of as Integrated field tests. Sites that are presently used for analogue missions include Devon Island in Nunavut, Pavilion Lake in British Columbia and Axel Heiberg on Elsemere Island in Nunavut.
The RFP further defines terrestrial analogue sites as resembling in some key way (e.g. geomorphologically or geochemically) a surface or subsurface environment of another planet. Herein, Analogue Mission can be defined as an integrated set of activities that represent (or simulate) entire mission designs or narrowly focus on specific aspects of
planned or potential future planetary exploration missions.
The Canadian Space Agency Exploration Core Program (ECP) views Analogue Missions as providing risk reduction in the development of future space missions.
The proposals are required to respond to one of the following six categories:
Mars: an in situ search for microbial biosignatures in a Mars analogue environment
(A) Asceptic drilling in an ice-rich (eg ground ice, permafrost) environment
(B) Search for methane: discriminating abiotic from biotic origin
(C) Search for life in rocks
Moon: an in situ investigation of geology in a lunar analogue environment
(D) Map the distribution and age of bedrock
(E) In situ drilling and sampling to assess hydrogen and oxygen content of rock and regolith targets for lunar ISRU
(F) Investigation of the formation processes and resource potential of impact crater(s)
The resulting contracts will be for two years with a maximum value of $800,000 and no more than $400,000 per year. The number of winning contracts will depend will depend on the value of the awarded contracts and availability of funds. It is believed that a maximum of two proposals will be selected. The proposals are due by 2:00 p.m. EST on January 12, 2010.
The RFP can be found under Services – Research and Development (R&D) and is titled Analogue Missions for the Canadian Space Agency with a reference number PW-$$ST-006-20253 and solicitation number 9F007-081041/A.