Astronomy has as its domain the study of the celestial bodies-the sun, planets, stars, clouds of gas between the stars, galaxies-and undeniably the entire universe considered as a single system. Astronomy's goal is to learn the nature of these diverse objects and to relate their properties, their motions, and their distribution in space in a unified world picture; to understand the evolutionary development of the universe from the time of its formation to the present epoch of observation and beyond; and indeed to discover, if possible, its original state and its final destiny.
Emphasizing astronomy as a pure science, this report presents the challenges scientists and the government face in regards to radio and optical astronomical programs. Ground-based Astronomy: A Ten-Year Program explores a balanced course for new facilities of ground-based astronomy in the next decade, and provides recommendations to create a progressive program that considers a wide spectrum of past inadequacies and future growth components. Outlining guiding principles and estimates of facility costs, Ground-based Astronomy examines present positions in research and development to further advancement of astronomy in various sectors.