NASA Request for Information: Robotic Lunar Exploration Program - Radiation/Biology Surface Demonstration

Status Report From: Goddard Space Flight Center
Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2004



Further information

General Information

Document Type: Sources Sought Notice
Solicitation Number: RFI-RLEP-RBD
Posted Date: Sep 10, 2004
Original Response Date: Oct 12, 2004
Current Response Date: Oct 12, 2004
Original Archive Date: Sep 10, 2005
Current Archive Date: Sep 10, 2005
Classification Code: A -- Research & Development
Naics Code: 927110 -- Space Research and Technology

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 210.S, Greenbelt, MD 20771



RFI Purpose: The Robotic Lunar Exploration Program (RLEP) is seeking to develop a low-cost, lunar surface element to characterize the radiation environment and its effect on a living, human relatable biological agent, and to demonstrate the effectiveness of mitigation strategies to the hazards of exposure. We are therefore requesting information regarding approaches and techniques for accomplishing this goal. While our intent may be to team with industrial partner(s), we are not bound by this RFI to do so. It is neither a Request for Proposal, nor a Request for Quotation, nor an Invitation to Bid. Therefore, this RFI is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government to enter into a contract, nor will the Government pay for information provided in response to this RFI.

Background: One of the key concerns in the overall lunar exploration initiative is the long-term effects that the lunar environment has on living organisms (i.e. humans). Despite extensive Apollo data, there are still many unanswered questions, particularly for long-duration missions. It is our intent to start looking into the human health and support topics as early in the program as possible. With that in mind, we are investigating the feasibility of sending a radiation/biology experiment to the lunar surface in the 2009 timeframe within a total mission budget < $300 million, to directly assess the effects on cellular health, in a manner that can be extrapolated to crew health. Remote autonomous biological experiment technologies are an area of particular interest. Such data would be extremely valuable to the human mission designers and habitat designers supporting the Exploration architecture development. Information regarding possible strategies for developing, delivering, and operating a suitable surface element, in that timeframe, is being sought.

Other Considerations: There are a variety of surface element types and a variety of potential purposes for putting them on the surface. All types (hard/soft, guided/unguided, coarsely/precisely targeted, using thrusters/airbags, etc.) are going to be considered by the RLEP, as well as all potential reasons for putting them on the surface (radiation/shielding experiments, placing of biological sentinels, exploration of permanently shadowed crater regions, precision landing demonstrations, sample collection, ground truthing of orbital measurements, soil mechanics, ejecta/subsurface analysis, seismometry, magnetometry, electrostatics investigations, heat flow experiments, and surface imaging cameras, just to name a few). An investigation into the effects of the local lunar radiation environment on biological agents is just one of the first in the series of surface questions that the RLEP is setting out to answer. That being said, the applicability of the concepts gathered during this RFI, to any of the other topic areas, will be considered. Information: The NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center is interested in soliciting the overall concepts, estimates of cost and development schedules, development risk evaluations, and any comments on enabling technologies.

The objectives of this RFI are: 1) to improve NASA's knowledge of industry's capabilities; 2) to improve the overall understanding of what the surface element options are for RLEP; and 3) to invite industry to submit information that will allow NASA to assess the partnering opportunities that exist within industry, specifically with regards to the design, development, and deployment of a radiation/biology experiment, to be put forth as one of the first surface elements of RLEP. NASA has established a website ( ) containing the latest information regarding the RLEP and its associated missions. Interested parties can visit this site to learn more about the program and how it fits into NASA's overall exploration initiative.

To consolidate our planning, we request responses from industry within 30 days of the release date of this RFI, in the form of written and illustrated concepts, ideas, and descriptions of capabilities. We plan to invite formal presentations and discussions at GSFC of the more compelling responses within 45 days of the RFI issuance.

Responses can be submitted via email. The subject line of the submission should be "RFI for RLEP Radiation/Biology Surface Demonstration", and attachments should be in Microsoft WORD, POWERPOINT, or PDF format. The email text must give a point-of-contact and provide his/her name, address, telephone/fax numbers, and email address. The information is requested for planning purposes only, subject to FAR Clause 52.215-3, entitled "Solicitation for Information for Planning Purposes." It is not NASA's intent to publicly disclose vendor proprietary information obtained during this solicitation.

To the full extent that it is protected pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act and other laws and regulations, information identified by a respondent as "Proprietary or Confidential" will be kept confidential. It is emphasized that this RFI is for planning and information purposes only and is NOT to be construed as a commitment by the Government to enter into a contractual agreement, nor will the Government pay for information solicited.

No solicitation exists; therefore, do not request a copy of the solicitation. If a solicitation is released, it will be synopsized in FedBizOpps and on the NASA Acquisition Internet Service. It is the potential offeror's responsibility to monitor these sites for the release of any solicitation or synopsis. Technical questions should be directed to: Joe Burt at (301) 286-2217 or and Martin Houghton at (301) 286-3875 or

Procurement related questions should be directed to: Julie Janus at (301) 286-4931 or Interested offerors shall address the requirements of this RFI in written format as described in the previous paragraphs by electronic mail to: Martin Houghton at, no later than 5:00 PM EST on October 12, 2004. An ombudsman has been appointed -- See NASA Specific Note "B". The solicitation and any documents related to this procurement will be available over the Internet. These documents will be in Microsoft Office 97 format and will reside on a World Wide Web (WWW) server, which may be accessed using a WWW browser application. The Internet site, or URL, for the NASA/GSFC Business Opportunities home page is . It is the offeror's responsibility to monitor the Internet cite for the release of the solicitation and amendments (if any). Potential offerors will be responsible for downloading their own copy of the solicitation and amendments, if any. Any referenced notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below.

Original Point of Contact

Julie A. Janus, Contracting Officer, Phone (301) 286-4931, Fax (301) 286-0341, Email - Martin B Houghton, Technical Contact, Phone (301) 286-3875, Fax (301) 286-1738, Email

Email your questions to Julie A. Janus at

Current Point of Contact

Julie A. Janus, Contracting Officer, Phone (301) 286-4931, Fax (301) 286-0341, Email - Martin B Houghton, Technical Contact, Phone (301) 286-3875, Fax (301) 286-1738, Email

Email your questions to Julie A. Janus at

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