Developing Science Mission Requirements for a New, Globally-Ranging U.S. Drilling Vessel
In September 2021, the National Science Foundation asked the U.S. Science Support Program for assistance in developing Science Mission Requirements, or SMRs, for a globally-ranging riserless U.S. drilling vessel to address high priority scientific objectives outlined in the 2050 Science Framework: Exploring Earth by Scientific Ocean Drilling. To provide this input, USSSP assembled a steering committee to oversee the canvassing of the U.S. community, the prioritization of objectives within the Framework, and the development of engineering, technical, and laboratory recommendations for a globally-ranging, riserless drilling and coring vessel. These recommendations can then be used by NSF should it enter into a Conceptual Design Process for such a vessel.
The SMR effort began with an online community survey, which was initiated on February 1, 2022. Responses were assessed by the steering committee, which then implemented several virtual forums to refine, discuss, and further prioritize the survey results. Finally, an in-person community workshop was held on May 17-18. A draft report of recommendations was posted online for review, comments, and suggestions in August 2022, and the final report was submitted to NSF in September.