Space Studies Board Annual Report 2002


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Space Studies Board Annual Report 2002 NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES The National Academies Press Washington, D.C.

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The Space Studies Board is a unit of the National Research Council, which serves as an independent advisor to the federal government on scientific and technical questions of national importance. The National Research Council, jointly administered by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, brings the resources of the entire scientific and technical community to bear through its volunteer advisory committees. Support for the work of the Space Studies Board and its committees and task groups was provided by National Aeronautics and Space Administration Contract NASW-01001, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Contracts 50-DKNA-6-90040 and 50-DKNA-1-90024 and Purchase Order No. 40-AA-NR-11138, Environmental Protection Agency Grant X-82821401, Army Corps of Engineers Purchase Order DACA89-99-M-0147, NASA John C. Stennis Space Center Order NS-7570, Department of Transportation Order DTRS56-00-P-70077, U.S. Geological Survey Cooperative Agreement 00HQAG0204, National Science Foundation Grant ATM-0109283, Office of Naval Research Grant N00014-01-1-0753, and Air Force Office of Scientific Research Purchase Order FQ8671-0101168.

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From the Chair Balance and diversification are often said to be desirable attributes of investment portfolios, but they are also qualities of the Space Studies Board’s (SSB’s) work during 2002. The SSB led or participated in 11 studies and had 11 further studies at various points in their conduct at year’s end. Of the studies completed in 2002, the Office of Space Science of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was a sponsor of five. NASA’s Office of Earth Science and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) each sponsored three studies. NASA’s Office of Biological and Physical Research, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Army Corps of Engineers each sponsored two studies. The National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Office of Naval Research, and NASA’s Human Exploration and Development of Space Program were sponsors of one study each. Four of the studies had multiple sponsors. Two of SSB’s studies were requested by Congress. The SSB collaborated with the Board on Physics and Astronomy, the Board on Life Sciences, the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, and the National Academy of Public Administration, and it played a supporting role for one of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board’s studies. Two of SSB’s studies were first-ever surveys—the Solar System Exploration Survey and the Solar and Space Physics Survey—and both were completed in near-record time. Similarly, two space-station-related reports were accelerated and delivered ahead of schedule to better mesh with NASA’s 2004 budget preparations and with parallel studies being conducted by the NASA Advisory Council. These four reports placed heavy demands on both SSB staff and the committees. As was also the case in 2001, a considerable part of SSB’s work involved responses to the restructuring of the International Space Station (ISS). The Board’s committees reacted vigorously to proposed reductions in ISS research capacity and the effects of limitations on up-mass and crew size. In the Board’s most recent meetings with NASA representatives, NASA assured the Board that the 2004 budget submission to Congress will restore at least some—and perhaps more—of the reductions in ISS science and the supporting capabilities available for the station. SSB will be following that development closely in 2003. In 2001 NASA asked the SSB to review the effect of descoping the mission concept for the Next Generation Space Telescope, which has since been renamed the James Webb Space Telescope. In 2002 the Board issued a letter report on similar efforts by NASA regarding the Space Interferometry Mission and determined that the

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descoped mission would meet the scientific goals set out by the astronomy survey. Consistent with SSB’s favorable comments, the year 2002 saw NASA moving ahead with the development of the Webb telescope. The 6-meter-diameter, deployable primary mirror will be made up of 36 1-meter hexagonal segments, which will operate over a wavelength of 0.6 to 28 micrometers and be passively cooled to 40 K. The telescope will be placed in a halo orbit at L2. The mission will involve extraordinary technical achievements, and it promises to yield equally exciting scientific results. The Board will be following the mission’s development with great interest in future years. Another likely task for 2003 will be collaboration between the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board and the SSB in examining the NASA initiative in space nuclear power and propulsion. The potential for greater interplanetary mission capability and reduced flight times makes the initiative attractive, but the engineering challenges and costs will require careful scrutiny. In the succeeding sections of this annual report, all of the above topics and many more are discussed in greater detail. Looking forward, the year 2003 should be as exciting and productive as 2002 was. John H. McElroy Chair Space Studies Board

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Contents     From the Chair   iii 1   Charter and Organization of the Board   1 2   Activities and Membership   6 3   Summaries of Major Reports   35     3.1 Assessment of Directions in Microgravity and Physical Sciences Research at NASA,   35     3.2 Assessment of the Usefulness and Availability of NASA’s Earth and Space Mission Data,   44     3.3 Factors Affecting the Utilization of the International Space Station for Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences,   51     3.4 Life in the Universe: An Assessment of U.S. and International Programs in Astrobiology,   55     3.5 New Frontiers in the Solar System: An Integrated Exploration Strategy,   61     3.6 Review of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise Applications Program Plan,   70     3.7 Safe on Mars: Precursor Measurements Necessary to Support Human Operations on the Martian Surface,   74     3.8 The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond: A Decadal Research Strategy in Solar and Space Physics,   80     3.9 Toward New Partnerships in Remote Sensing: Government, the Private Sector, and Earth Science Research,   92     3.10 Using Remote Sensing in State and Local Government: Information for Management and Decision Making,   97 4   Short Report   101     4.1 Review of the Redesigned Space Interferometry Mission (SIM),   101 5   Congressional Testimony   105     5.1 Solar System Exploration Survey Recommendations on the Study of Near-Earth Objects,   105 6   Cumulative Bibliography   109

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Space Studies Board Chairs Lloyd V. Berkner, Graduate Research Center, Dallas, Texas, 1958–1962 Harry H. Hess, Princeton University, 1962–1969 Charles H. Townes, University of California at Berkeley, 1970–1973 Richard M. Goody, Harvard University, 1974–1976 A.G.W. Cameron, Harvard College Observatory, 1977–1981 Thomas M. Donahue, University of Michigan, 1982–1988 Louis J. Lanzerotti, American Telephone & Telegraph Co., Bell Labs, 1989–1994 Claude R. Canizares, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1994–2000 John H. McElroy, University of Texas at Arlington (retired), 2000–