BASC, BESR, and the Ocean Studies Board) completed their work during the year. The Task Group on Exploring Organic Environments in the Solar System, the Task Group on PI-led Earth Science Missions (under the auspices of CES), and the Task Group on the Availability and Usefulness of NASA's Space Mission Data were established in 2000 and will continue their work in 2001.

Workshops, Symposia, and Special Projects

Topical workshops or symposia occasionally provide the most effective vehicle for addressing certain needs of the government or the scientific community. In 2000, the Board's Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life held a workshop on life detection techniques, and the Steering Committee on Space Applications and Commercialization held the first in its series of workshops on issues relevant to remote sensing applications and commercialization.


Formal reports delivered to government sponsors constitute one of the primary products of the work of the SSB, but the dissemination process has a number of other important elements. The Board is always seeking ways to ensure that its work reaches the broadest possible appropriate audience and that it has the largest beneficial impact. Copies of reports are routinely provided to key executive branch officials, members and staffs of relevant congressional committees, and members of other interested NRC and federal advisory bodies. Members of the press are notified about the release of each new report, and the Board maintains a substantial mailing list for distribution of reports to members of the space research community. The SSB publishes the executive summaries of all new reports in its quarterly newsletter, which is made widely available, both by mail and by e-mail. The Board also offers briefings by committee chairs and members or SSB staff to agency officials and scientific societies. All reports are posted on the SSB World Wide Web home page at < > and linked to the institution's site for reports at < >. Dissemination efforts were expanded in 2000 via participation at exhibits at a number of major national scientific and technical meetings.


Much of the work of the Board involves topics that fall entirely within its principal areas of responsibility and can be addressed readily by its members and its committees. However, there are other situations where the need for breadth of expertise, alternative points of view, or synergy with other NRC projects lead to compelling arguments for collaboration with other units of the NRC. The Space Studies Board has been engaged in many such multiunit collaborations, and the increasingly interdisciplinary, multidimensional character of contemporary science and technology is likely to lead to more cross-NRC activities. This approach to projects has the potential to bring more of the full capability of the National Academies to bear in preparing advice for the government. Multiunit collaborative projects also present new challenges, namely to manage them in a way that achieves economies of scale and true synergy rather than just adding cost or complexity. Collaborative relationships between the SSB and other NRC units during 2000 are illustrated in Figure 1.1.

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