Quick Help for Using ARK/RPS

RPS Logo

This help file is intended to give a quick introduction to those who are not familiar with the ARK Remote Proposal System, or ARK/RPS. It is short, so please read it completely.

  • A detailed manual on how to use ARK is available. There is also an ARK FAQ. RPS-specific FAQs are answered below.

  • Quick, generic, step-by-step instructions as to what you need to do:

    • In order to submit your proposal to ARK/RPS, you must first create an ARK account and/or join the relevant RPS group.
    • If you already have an ARK account, login first and select "Join Group" from the menu next to RPS group for which you desire to submit a proposal.
    • If you do not already have an ARK account, enter your e-mail address in the input field provided and click on the check box next to the group for which you desire to submit a proposal and then click on the Join ARK button. Check your e-mail. Within a few minutes, you should receive an e-mail from ARK. Click on the activation code found therein. Fill out the ARK registration form and submit. Your ARK account should be created and you should now be a member of the ARK group you specified earlier.
    • Next, proceed to your My ARK page and click on the group for which you desire to submit a proposal. On the following page, click on the "Submit a new proposal" link. Fill out the proposal form(s). Click on the Verify button to make sure you have entered the form information correctly. Once the form verifies successfully, you may then click on the Submit button.
    • After doing so, go "back" in your web browser and then click on the PostScript button to generate the PostScript file for your hard-copy submission and/or upload. Alternatively, the PDF button can be used instead if that format is preferred. (This requirement may vary from mission to mission. Check the group-specific instructions.)
    • Go to the group's "Recent Activity" page. The information for the proposal that you just submitted should be listed here. Click on the Files button next to it, if it is present. Proceed to upload the file(s) specified. If you have submitted your form electronically and uploaded the required files (if applicable), then you have successfully completed your RPS electronic submission.
  • The RPS user, regardless of experience, should develop the habit of saving his/her work often. We recommend that you use the Save button on the ARK/RPS form page periodically.

    Note that the Save and Submit buttons do very different things. The Save button downloads a text file containing the fields and the values you entered. If for some reason your browser crashes before you Submit, you can Reload your saved form, for example. The Submit button submits your proposal to the mission, effectively fulfilling the electronic submission aspect of RPS (not including any file uploads).

    The Save and Reload buttons can also be useful if you have a large number of targets/observations. Some users find that filling out the text file is easier or faster than filling out the web form, especially with a large number of targets. The plain text representation of the ARK form utilized by the ARK Save and Reload buttons also lends itself to automation. A simple script might fill in any number of fields for an arbitrarily large number of targets with ease. When you're done editing the text file, just use the Reload button to upload your changes to ARK.

  • Prior to the deadline, you can still Modify or Discard any proposal you have submitted, using the group's Recent Activity page.

  • Visit the RPS browser support page to see which browsers are supported.

  • Mission-specific questions should be addressed to the relevant Guest Observer Facility (GOF) or Science Support Center (SSC) for that mission.

  • Short description of each RPS form button that you may encounter:

    • Add - Add or clone a specified subform.
    • Add Targets - Upload a list of targets. Only found on ARK/RPS forms that have target subforms.
    • Delete - Remove a subform. You must first set the delete flag to "Y" at the top of the subform you wish to delete.
    • Feedback - This is for sending questions, comments, complaints, etc. to the RPS Help Desk
    • LaTeX - Generate the LaTeX version of your form.
    • PostScript - Generate the PostScript version of your form.
    • PDF - Generate the PDF version of your form.
    • Reload - Reload an ARK/RPS form that was saved using the Save button. (Note: Do not use this button to reload HTML files. Use your browser's file opening mechanism for that.)
    • Save - Save the values you entered in the form boxes to a text file which can be Reloaded later.
    • Submit - Submit the electronic version to the proposal database. The Submit button will not appear until after the form has been successfully verified.
    • Verify - Checks the form for any errors or inconsistencies.

ARK/RPS Frequently Asked Questions

Please refer to the ARK FAQ for answers to general questions about ARK.