Review of NASA’s Solid-Earth Science Strategy

Committee to Review NASA’s Solid-Earth Science Strategy

Board on Earth Sciences and Resources

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu



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Review of NASA’s Solid-Earth Science Strategy Review of NASA’s Solid-Earth Science Strategy Committee to Review NASA’s Solid-Earth Science Strategy Board on Earth Sciences and Resources Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Review of NASA’s Solid-Earth Science Strategy THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Award No. NASW-03027. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Review of NASA’s Solid-Earth Science Strategy THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Review of NASA’s Solid-Earth Science Strategy COMMITTEE TO REVIEW NASA’s SOLID-EARTH SCIENCE STRATEGY EDWARD M. STOLPER, chair, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena ANNY CAZENAVE, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, Toulouse, France CATHERINE G. CONSTABLE, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California FRANCIS A. DAHLEN, JR., Princeton University, New Jersey WILLIAM E. DIETRICH, University of California, Berkeley BRADFORD H. HAGER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge GRANT H. HEIKEN, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico (retired) R. KEITH RANEY, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, Maryland FRANK M. RICHTER, University of Chicago, Illinois MOUSUMI ROY, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque LIANXING WEN, State University of New York at Stony Brook National Research Council Staff ANNE M. LINN, Study Director TERESIA K. WILMORE, Program Assistant JAMES DAVIS, Program Assistant

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Review of NASA’s Solid-Earth Science Strategy BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair, University of Virginia, Charlottesville JILL BANFIELD, University of California, Berkeley STEVEN R. BOHLEN, Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Washington, D.C. VICKI COWART, Consulting Geologist, Denver, Colorado DAVID L. DILCHER, University of Florida, Gainesville ADAM M. DZIEWONSKI, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts WILLIAM L. GRAF, University of South Carolina, Columbia RHEA GRAHAM, New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, Albuquerque V. RAMA MURTHY, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis DIANNE R. NIELSON, Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Salt Lake City RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario MARK SCHAEFER, NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia BILLIE L. TURNER II, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts THOMAS J. WILBANKS, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee ANTHONY R. DE SOUZA, Director National Research Council Staff PAUL M. CUTLER, Senior Program Officer TAMARA L. DICKINSON, Senior Program Officer DAVID A. FEARY, Senior Program Officer ANNE M. LINN, Senior Program Officer KRISTEN L. KRAPF, Program Officer RONALD F. ABLER, Scholar TANJA PILZAK, Research Associate VERNA J. BOWEN, Financial and Administrative Associate JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Financial and Administrative Associate JAMES DAVIS, Program Assistant AMANDA ROBERTS, Program Assistant

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Review of NASA’s Solid-Earth Science Strategy Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Bruce Buffett, University of Chicago, Illinois Roger Clark, U.S. Geological Survey, Lakewood, Colorado James Jackson, Bullard Laboratories, Cambridge, United Kingdom Charles Langmuir, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts David Sandwell, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California Robert Shuchman, Altarum Institute, Ann Arbor, Michigan Jeff Weissel, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Norman Sleep, Stanford University. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Review of NASA’s Solid-Earth Science Strategy Preface In 2000, Dr. Ghassem Asrar, associate administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) Office of Earth Science, established a Solid-Earth Science Working Group (SESWG) to prepare a 25-year vision and strategy for solid-earth science at NASA. This group, consisting of 16 members drawn from academia and federal agencies, met on three occasions between late 2000 and early 2002. In addition, “town hall” sessions were held at the 2000 fall and 2001 spring meetings of the American Geophysical Union to brief the broad scientific community and to seek additional input. The working group released Living on a Restless Planet1 in late 2002. Dr. Asrar requested in 2003 that the National Research Council (NRC) provide an assessment of the strategy and vision presented in the SESWG document, and we report here the NRC response. The charge to the NRC review committee is as follows: An ad hoc committee will review NASA’s 25-year vision for its solid-earth science program described in the report Living on a Restless Planet. The committee will evaluate the report with particular emphasis on answering the following questions: Are the priorities of the report consistent with national priorities in the solid-earth sciences, as laid out in the strategic plans of relevant federal agencies and interagency organizations? Does the report include all the major research foci for which NASA can make a unique contribution? The review committee held one meeting on March 14–15, 2004, at the National Academies’ Beckman Center in Irvine, California. In addition, the committee held teleconferences with Dr. Sean Solomon, chairman of SESWG, to discuss the background of the SESWG report, and with Dr. Asrar to discuss the motivation for the NRC review. Finally, the committee had access to a written review of the SESWG report prepared by the NRC Committee on Seismology and Geodynamics in September 2003 and to strategic planning documents produced by relevant agency and interagency groups. Our report is based on these inputs and on discussions among committee members at our meeting in Irvine. 1   National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Living on a Restless Planet, Solid Earth Science Working Group Report, Pasadena, Calif., 63 pp., 2002, <http://solidearth.jpl.nasa.gov/seswg.html>.

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Review of NASA’s Solid-Earth Science Strategy The committee thanks the following individuals for providing background material or other input: Ghassem Asrar, Roland Bürgmann, Curt Davis, Gary Egbert, Bill Farrand, Alexander Goetz, Richard Gomez, William Holt, Louise Kellogg, Alan Levander, Ken MacDonald, Jack Murphy, Michael Purucker, Mike Ramsey, David Sandwell, Paul Silver, Walter Smith, Sean Solomon, Thierry Toutin, Susan Ustin, Aaron Velasco, and Terry Wallace, Jr.

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Review of NASA’s Solid-Earth Science Strategy Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1.   INTRODUCTION   5      Overview of Living On A Restless Planet,   5      Organization of this Report,   6 2.   ANALYSIS OF SESWG RECOMMENDATIONS   9      Surface Deformation,   9      High-Resolution Topography,   13      Variability of the Earth’s Magnetic Field,   18      Variability of the Earth’s Gravity Field,   22      Surface Properties Using Imaging Spectroscopy,   26 3.   CONCLUSIONS   31     APPENDIXES         A  National Priorities in Solid-Earth Science   35     B  Biographical Sketches of Committee Members   39     ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS   43

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