1. Identified as a high priority or requirement in previous studies, for example NRC and WMO reports and existing planning efforts such as the International Working Group on Earth Observations (IWGEO: http://iwgeo.ssc.nasa.gov);

  2. Makes a significant contribution to more than one of the seven Panel themes;

  3. Contributes to important scientific questions facing Earth sciences today (scientific merit, discovery, exploration);

  4. Contributes to applications and/or policy making (operations, applications, societal benefits);

  5. Contributes to long-term monitoring of the Earth;

  6. Complements other observational systems;

  7. Affordable (cost-benefit);

  8. Degree of readiness (technical, resources, people);

  9. Risk mitigation and strategic redundancy (backup of other critical systems); and

  10. Fits with other national and international plans and activities.

Describe each proposed mission in terms of its contributions to science and applications, how the mission meets the above prioritization criteria, its benefits to society, technical aspects, schedule and rough estimate of costs. The description should provide enough detail that the potential value and feasibility of the mission can be evaluated by an independent group of experts.

For full consideration, please submit the concept paper by May 16, 2005, via e-mail to: rfi@nas.edu. Questions about the RFI may be directed to the study director, Art Charo (acharo@nas.edu), or to us: (anthes@ucar.edu); (b.moore@unh.edu). You can also contact Dr. Charo by telephone at 202–334–3477, or by fax at 202–334–3701.

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