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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) Setting Priorities for Space Research Opportunities and Imperatives 3 Today's Imperatives The nation's overall agenda in science and technology, including scientific research in space and the space program, serves the highest national purposes, including the development of new understanding about our surroundings and the maintenance of national vitality. This chapter examines contemporary imperatives—largely external to science and space research—and describes their implications for space research and the civil space program. INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION AND CONCERNS Rapidly evolving relationships between the leading nations of the world are now characterized by the movement from ideological and military competition REPORT MENU to economic and technological competition. NOTICE MEMBERSHIP PREFACE SUMMARY CHAPTER 1 The Challenges CHAPTER 2 CHAPTER 3 From the 1940s until very recently, diplomatic and military competition CHAPTER 4 between West and East dominated international affairs. This competition shaped CHAPTER 5 national priorities and, in turn, national budgets, major initiatives in science, engineering, and technology, and efforts to win friends among other nations. Some of the old alliances and international political structures constructed in response to this competition have unraveled, and nations are engaged in long- term reallocation of funds between defense and other national endeavors. The United States now has strong competitors in the economic and technological realm to replace the single nation dominant in military competition. Other nations are entering the arena; new alliances based on economic and geographical imperatives promise to be powerful contestants. The complexity of the new competition is compounded by the fact that the world now has a file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (1 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) geographically integrated economy. The flow of information and investment funds ignores national boundaries. In this new economy, new strategies are indicated. In the midst of this new global economic competition, there is a growing worldwide concern for the environment. Human activities are changing the surface and atmosphere of the planet, and the full consequences of these changes are still unknown. The world will look to science and engineering to help solve these problems, which have been created in part by technology and in part by a burgeoning human population. Assessing the gravity of the threat and determining the rapidity with which we should act require much more information about the Earth and how it functions. The Response Intellectual capacity, creativity, and flexibility are critical capabilities for coping with complexity in science and national affairs. Because of its nature, the U.S. system should respond well to change and complexity. Our decentralized system permits many independent initiatives to flourish simultaneously. It creates flexibility and encourages intellectual creativity to take advantage of opportunities. We should be a nimble competitor, thriving on change. We need to exploit our diverse skills, strengthen the education of our children, and emphasize continuing education and intellectual revitalization. We can take advantage of the university system as a key component of national science capability and encourage industries to participate in basic research and thus strengthen the national science infrastructure. We need to focus our response to the new global economic competition. The export of products and services that are based on knowledge and sophisticated technology may be more profitable and may confer more influence than the export of traditional manufactured goods. This nation should emphasize those areas with the largest potential net national benefits-the activities in which knowledge, information, and sophisticated management of processes are dominant. Space research and the overall space program can contribute significantly to such an emphasis. As a nation, we need a strong sense of what is really important in our rapidly changing world. In scientific research, and in the space program, we need to create a way of determining priorities among initiatives that blends scientific opportunities with national imperatives. Having done that, we should be able to formulate effective programs and initiatives and implement them surely, swiftly, and successfully. DOMESTIC POLITICS file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (2 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) For space research and for the space program, the reality of domestic politics is that the federal budget is both finite and in deficit. The nation cannot afford to do all the things that it could or should. Choices must be made. The long- term reign of national defense as a top priority for federal spending may be ending, but there will be continued strong competition from other areas and other initiatives for increased funds. In recent years, science generally and scientific research in space in particular have fared well despite varying political agendas and eccentricities of the budget process in which they compete. Presidents have consistently recommended increased funds for science as an investment in enhanced economic competitiveness. In the congressional appropriations process, however, much civilian science and the space program are in direct competition with the social programs of agencies concerned with housing, health, the environment, and veterans' affairs, all of which must be funded within a single budget allotment. As part of the vigorous public debate about the relative needs of our society and the discussions over appropriate national goals, there is an opportunity for scientific space research and the entire space program to develop a compelling, long-term agenda that will be seen as rational and equitable by the interested constituencies. Certain ingredients are critical for success. There must be consensus among scientists on the relative priorities of the major initiatives. In addition, the agenda must respond to the needs of the nation as well as to opportunities presented by scientific progress. For more than four decades, science and the government have operated largely under the terms of the social contract envisioned by Vannevar Bush in 1945 in Science—The Endless Frontier.1 Bush argued that science, supported by federal funds and allowed to make its own decisions, would produce benefits for the public. Now the contract seems to be changing. Expected benefits need to be specified more clearly, and actual performance is more likely to be reviewed to determine whether claimed benefits have been realized. There is an increasing expectation that scientific progress should be linked more directly to economic benefit and competitiveness as part of the justification for receiving federal funding.. Universities and other not-for-profit research institutions are seeking to transfer intellectual property to the private sector, partly to support economic vitality and partly to create an independent source of funds. Thus there are pressures today to convert scientific results into useful products through entrepreneurial initiative and direct management of the transfer process. In addition, there is a growing demand for an agenda, for a system of priorities in scientific research and for scientific initiatives. ECONOMIC REALITIES AND THE MANAGEMENT OF AVAILABLE RESOURCES file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (3 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) Economic determinants are increasingly important in the formulation of public policy and provision of funds supporting science. The demands for clear benefits from public investments and for effective use of available resources confront the space science and applications community today. Valuation of Space Research—Assessing the Benefits Two trends in public policy offer both challenge and opportunity to space science. First, there appears to be an increased willingness to support activities producing primarily broad social benefits, as evidenced by policy and action motivated by concerns for clean water and clean air, for protecting the environment, and for maintaining wilderness, wildlife, and habitats. There is some evidence of heightened public interest in space activities, particularly to augment scientific understanding.2 Second, there is an increasing demand for publicly supported activities to provide explicit evidence that the benefits to be achieved outweigh the costs. Responding to these demands requires careful thought to specify how space research that fundamentally serves to augment knowledge and understanding contributes to society; it requires careful analysis to answer questions such as, In what way and by how much does space research further national objectives? Contributions of Space Research to Knowledge and Understanding Enhancement of knowledge through scientific research has been recognized for nearly 50 years as a national imperative meriting federal financial support. The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 sets forth the objective to extend "human knowledge of the Earth and of phenomena in the atmosphere and in space." The President reiterated this commitment in stating that an objective of the U.S. civil space activities "shall be . . . to expand knowledge of the Earth, its environment, the solar system, and the universe . . . ."3 The overall goal of science is to garner sufficient information to develop understanding of the structure and evolution of objects or phenomena in the natural world. Science seeks to create an understanding sufficiently robust that correct predictions can be made about objects or phenomena not yet observed. Science thus expands our perceptions and, in some cases, enhances our control of natural phenomena or allows us to modify our relationship with our environment. The recent progress of science is characterized by expansion of temporal and spatial domains of interest, by enhanced awareness of the complexity of interactions in the natural world, and by an increased ability to provide quantitative measures and models of natural phenomena. In this sense, space research contributes markedly to scientific progress, as is shown in Chapter 2. Clarifying the significance of science or of space research as a contributor file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (4 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) of enhanced knowledge and understanding will be an important consideration in any attempt to create an agenda for science. It behooves scientists seeking public support to demonstrate to the public and its representatives that the fruits of scientific research do indeed enhance the quality of life and the welfare of the nation's citizens. Evaluation of Other Benefits of Space Research For the foreseeable future, the space program and space research will compete for public support with other scientific and technological initiatives and programs offering a variety of social benefits, in some cases even competing with different approaches offering the same understanding or result. Table 3.1 illustrates several of these activities. Table 3.1a lists some of the major science initiatives proposed for the next decade or so. If national spending on nondefense research and development continues at the rate prevailing since the mid-1970s (see Table 3.2), projects in Table 3.1a alone will require a 50 percent increase in nondefense research and development funding. Additional initiatives or activities will require additional funding. The estimated costs of these projects are three times as large as the present total spending on basic research. TABLE 3.1 Spending Estimates for Various National Science, Technology, and Social Programs (1989 $billion) (a) Proposed Major National Science and (b) Selected Social Programs (FY 1989) Technology Projects During the Next 15 Years Estimated Estimated Estimated Annual Total Annual Costa Project Cost Program Cost file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (5 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) Superconducting Elementary, 8.0 0.5 supercollider secondary, and Mapping human vocational 10.0 3.0 0.2 genome education 30.0 2.0 Space Station Higher education Manned mission (financial 400.0 28.0 to Mars assistance, 10.0 National student loans) aerospace Social services 4.0 0.3 plane (block grants, Earth Observing 32.0 2.1 foster care, 10.0 System human 10.0 477.0 33.1 development) 21.0 TOTAL Housing assistance Food and nutrition 61.0 TOTAL (d) Selected Social Programs (FY 1989), (c) NASA Space Science Basic Research Each with Budgets Commensurate with Program (FY 1989) the Total of Table (c) Estimated Estimated Annual Costb Budget Line Budget Line Annual Cost Physics and astronomy 0.25 Summer youth 0.7 Life sciences 0.05 employment Planetary exploration 0.20 Assistance to Solid Earth observation 0.02 dislocated 0.5 Environmental observation 0.13 workers 0.7 Communications 0.01 Job Corps Older Americans 0.3 TOTAL 0.66 employment Low-rent public 0.9 housing 3.1 TOTAL aDiscounted current cost of project assuming 4 percent inflation and 15-year construction time. bAdjusted from 1988 to 1989 dollars using implicit price deflator for 1989. SOURCES: Table (a): Stever, G., and D. Bodde. 1989. "Space Policy: Deciding Where to Go," Issues in Science and Technology V, No. 3, pp. 66-71. Table (b) and (d): Budget of the U.S. Government, FY 1990 (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.). Table (c): Congressional Budget Office, U.S. Congress. 1988. The NASA Program in the 1990's and Beyond (CBO, Washington, D.C.), May. The difficulties faced by policymakers and the Congress are suggested by Tables 3.1b, c, and d, which illustrate the opportunity costs (that is, the alternatives) of spending public funds on science or space research. The activities in Tables 3.1b and d are significant in that they include programs that compete directly with space funding within the relevant congressional file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (6 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) appropriations committees. Economic benefits have been cited as a rationale for space research since the inception of the U.S. civil space program, yet precisely what is meant by "economic benefit" has not always been clear. The narrowest definition would include strictly commercial activity that is profitable in the business sense. The case most often cited is that of commercial communications satellites, where economic benefits can be defined as the value consumers place on the service and are measured by industry revenues.4 For public policy, there are additional benefits and costs that must be considered, even for communications satellites. Broader definitions include contributions to technological progress, national prestige and competitiveness, and science and engineering education. TABLE 3.2 Trends in Federal Spending for Research and Development (current $billion) Basic Total/GNP Basic/Total Year Defense All Other Total Research GNP (percent) (percent) 1960 6.1 1.5 7.6 0.6 497 1.53 7.9 1965 7.3 7.3 14.6 1.4 657 2.2 9.6 1970 8.0 7.3 15.3 1.9 959 1.60 12.4 1975 9.7 9.3 19.0 2.6 1522 1.25 13.7 1980 15.1 14.7 29.8 4.7 2670 1.12 15.8 1985 33.4 16.1 49.5 7.8 3952 1.25 15.8 1986 36.5 16.2 52.6 8.1 4187 1.26 15.4 1987 38.4 17.6 56.1 9.0 4434 1.27 16.0 1988 39.5 19.3 58.8 9.5 4780 1.23 16.2 1989 (est.) 41.3 21.7 63.0 10.5 5120 1.23 16.7 1990 (est.) 44.0 23.3 67.3 11.2 5476 1.23 16.6 SOURCES: GNP Data, 1960 to 1970: The Budget for FY 1980 (Executive Office, Washington, D.C., 1979), Table 19; GNP Data, 1975 to 1990: The Budget for FY 1990 (Executive Office, Washington, D.C., 1989), Table 17; Research and Development data, all years, special analyses: Budget of the United States Government, FY 1990 (Executive Office, Washington, D.C., 1989), Table J-10. file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (7 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) The task group does not offer a formal cost-benefit analysis5 for scientific research in space because such an analysis lies beyond its charge and, perhaps more significantly, because it is relatively difficult to do. It is desirable to measure all costs and all benefits of an activity whether readily quantifiable or not, but in the case of scientific research in space many of its benefits and many of its costs are not easily observable and are difficult to measure. It should be noted that scientific research is not alone in having benefits and costs that are difficult to measure. Many .public projects for the improvement of human health, safety, and environmental regulation are equally difficult to analyze in these terms. Table 3.3 lists but does not attempt to quantify those costs and benefits readily discernible in scientific research in space initiatives. From the perspective of setting priorities for space research initiatives, however, many requirements of cost-benefit analysis are instructive. Both those who propose research initiatives and those who review them should identify, as far as possible, all costs and benefits, to determine the necessary conditions for success, the probabilities and consequences of failure, and the expected outcomes. Such a process should improve proposals for initiatives. If such a formal analysis forces assumptions to be stated explicitly, they can be examined and compared with alternatives, and the possibilities for manipulation will be reduced. This analysis could provide for a formal comparison between initiatives when priorities are recommended, either within the community or as part of the federal budget process, and could clarify expected contributions of various initiatives. Those with the greatest scientific merit sometimes will have less immediate social benefit and practical utility; those with the greatest social benefit sometimes contribute less markedly to the enhancement of knowledge.6 The issue thus becomes the relative weighting between enhancement of knowledge, provision of social benefits, and costs. TABLE 3.3 Illustrative Benefits and Costs of Space Research Initiatives Benefits Costs file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (8 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) Expanded understanding of Costs of spacecraft, associated hardware, • structure and processes launch vehicles and services, and other of physical world facilities • origins and evolution of the Earth, solar system, Salaries, wages, costs of management and and universe administration, and other overhead • human interactions with our surroundings Environmental degradation from space activities (e.g., space debris and launch site Generation of technological progress and pollution) maintenance of national technological capability Diversion of fiscal and human resources from other scientific and public programs Gain in world prestige (if successful) Loss in world prestige (if failure) Improved decision making and enhanced capabilities in public and private applications of space-derived information Stimulation of pride in discovery and research and the excitement of exploring the unknown Improved public education and enhanced awareness of science and the world around us Improved capabilities for processing data and managing information Improved understanding of the scientific research process Support of graduate research and education and attraction of students at all levels to science and engineering Discovery of usable resources in solar system bodies NOTE: The benefits and costs shown here are merely illustrative. For more detailed discussion of benefit-cost approaches, see Musgrave, Richard, and Peggy Musgrave. 1989. Public Finance in Theory and Practice (McGraw-Hill, New York), and Rosen, Harvey S. 1989. Public Finance (Irwin, New York). Comparison between initiatives in this way is important in distinguishing scientific research in space from other aspects of the space program. The scientific research community has long been uncomfortable with the justification of large-scale initiatives in the space program by their scientific motivations when their purpose is not scientific and opportunity costs preclude more fundamental scientific initiatives. Analysis of alternative initiatives should reveal this disparity file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (9 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) and provide an incentive for structuring such programs to, provide greater scientific benefit. It should also provide convincing support for the recommendation that "the advance of science and its application to human welfare be adopted and implemented as an objective no less central to the space program of the United States than any other . . . ."7 Although they can be identified and assessed, direct social benefits from scientific research in space and the overall space program are difficult to quantify. Success in space research has provided a stimulus for education, enhanced national prestige, and fostered public pride in national accomplishment. The public has demonstrated a continuing interest in space research and in information obtained about the Earth and other planets as well as the universe beyond. The Viking, Voyager, and Pioneer missions were widely publicized in both print and on television. The discovery of a defect in the mirror of the Hubble Space Telescope was a major news item. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program were featured in the headline article in many newspapers when they were released. Less obvious are space program contributions to technological development as a stimulant to economic progress; attempts to quantify them have been, so far, unconvincing. Still, the development of national capabilities for managing complex endeavors and for creating and managing information is an important benefit of the overall space program. Effective Use of Space Research Resources Despite the universal desire of the scientific space research community to increase funding for space science and applications, some observers argue that current allotments are adequate to support a vital and exciting program if appropriate policy and programmatic reforms are implemented.8 Space Research and the Human Spaceflight Program The consequences of forcing science payloads better suited for independent launch by expendable vehicles onto the Space Shuttle have been widely documented. Although NASA is now procuring launch services for research payloads on expendable vehicles, because of past experiences many in the space research community remain skeptical that these vehicles will be readily available to support science payloads.9 Scientific accomplishment has often been cited as an important motivation for major programs (e.g., Apollo, Space Station, and the Space Exploration Initiative) that are actually space engineering and technology development programs aimed at legitimate but essentially nonscientific public purposes. Scientists argue that the science thus accomplished is often not of high priority and that support needed for more meaningful scientific opportunities is file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (10 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) lost because policymakers believe that through these programs they are already giving adequate support to science. Many space researchers argue that both the overall space program and scientific research in space would benefit from a clarification of goals and a more formal separation of space research and human spaceflight activities. As noted above, it is now widely agreed that most science payloads should be launched with expendable vehicles and that in most cases launching replacement satellites would be preferable to having astronauts service spacecraft in Earth orbit. The nonscientific objectives of major space program initiatives, such as the Space Station and the Space Exploration Initiative, could be fully met even if these programs were intended and designed from the beginning to pursue science objectives of the highest priority. For example, the attainment of sufficient knowledge about biological processes and human performance in space to ensure crew safety on long flights should be one of the main aims and design drivers for the Space Station. Human abilities have been, and will continue to be, important to certain scientific activities in space; for other initiatives, they are not necessary and, if present, greatly increase costs. However exciting it may be to have humans in space, they should not be subjected to the dangers of space travel unless important tasks compel their presence. Putting the emphasis on information to be returned from space—on knowledge to be gained about the Earth and other bodies or about human performance in space—simplifies the setting of priorities for both the space program and scientific space research and will eliminate the unnecessary and debilitating competition between the human space exploration program and the scientific research program. Program Management Issues and Principles In view of the imperatives imposed by international economic and technological competition, it is essential that the United States have an effective space research program. Managing the space research program according to several key operating principles will enhance the benefits to both science and the nation; some of these principles are already incorporated in the annual Strategic Plan of NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA). The following list moves from general principles applicable to any research program to those more specific to scientific research in space: Enhance the human resource base. The community of working scientists and students in space research needs to be maintained and invigorated. The strength of university programs should be preserved, and there should be stable research funding to ensure vigorous basic science and a steady flow of well-educated graduates. Such funding should be aimed at basic research, development of ideas for new initiatives, and analysis and synthesis of data from space research; it should be controlled principally by the research community itself, through peer review. The components of space research performed in space are quite expensive; their associated terrestrial components are generally comparable to other fields of scientific research. Adequate investments will ensure that maximum use is obtained from data acquired from file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (11 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) space. Finally, recognizing that students must be attracted into science and engineering at an early age, we must ensure that excellent teachers and facilities are available in both primary and secondary schools. Acknowledge that choices must be made. Science raises more intriguing questions than can be answered or even addressed. This is a sign of vitality, not difficulty. In making choices, only scientifically meritorious and technically feasible initiatives should be considered seriously. Since we cannot do everything, we need a process to select those things that will be done. Capitalize on opportunities. Special opportunities to perform good research are sometimes offered by technological developments or demands for applications. Wise investments in technological development will create such opportunities, sometimes in unexpected ways. The community should be prepared to take advantage of those opportunities that will foster scientifically meritorious research. Capitalize on investments. Having chosen to start valuable projects, we should insist on finishing them, in scientifically satisfactory and cost-effective ways. It is essential to start only the most valuable initiatives and then to understand fully all the costs of abandoning them. The cancellation of the International Solar Polar Mission and the extended stretch-out of Galileo are examples of lost investments. Increase program control by principals. Making principal investigators responsible for quality and giving scientists an increased role in program management offer potentially large benefits. As the Solar Mesospheric Mission and the first spin-stabilized scanning camera for weather satellites demonstrate, giving the scientists most directly concerned an increased role in program management offers potentially large performance advantages and reduced costs. Although this may be difficult to achieve in larger scientific efforts, the rewards are likely to justify the effort. Secure access to space by diverse means. Diverse means for access to space are necessary so that the launch vehicle or space platform can be matched to scientific objectives. Scientific missions adapted to inappropriate transportation methods are likely to be inferior. Certain modifications in the overall space program are advisable in order to obtain maximum benefit from the available resources. For this reason, it is necessary to reexamine the fundamental assumptions and procedures governing the program. It is necessary to ascertain why costs of space research escalate exponentially with time, why costs are often much greater than originally estimated, and why it takes a decade rather than a few years to build and launch a spacecraft. Some issues that should be considered in refining the principles listed above are as follows: file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (12 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) How do we take advantage of individual initiative and build resiliency, adaptability, and redundancy into the system?10 Do we aim for a high probability of success with scientific missions in one try or in several tries? Will we accomplish more if we accept finite risks of failure but launch more spacecraft? Who should be primarily responsible for the successful performance of scientific spacecraft—NASA, contractors, or principal investigators?11 How can we reduce the costs of spacecraft and launches? Should scientific initiatives be issued launch vouchers12 that can be used to select the most appropriate and most economical means of transportation? What principles should govern architecture and management of data and information systems? How can they be constructed to stimulate and enhance scientific productivity?13 Is the economy-of-scale argument for increasing mission size and complexity valid, both scientifically and economically? Are the scientific benefits of small and sharply focused scientific spacecraft sufficient to merit a high priority, especially since such initiatives can contribute in important ways to education and the strength of university programs? The answers to these questions will govern the productivity of scientific research in space for years to come. Current policies have evolved over the history of the space program and have been shaped by the Apollo experience. Changing policies to fit the realities of the 1990s and the early 2000s may be a difficult experience for all concerned. But there is no alternative if scientific research is to flourish and if it is to be possible to accomplish even a reasonable fraction of the highest-priority scientific opportunities, however those priorities might be determined. SCIENCE AND THE EDUCATION OF YOUNG CITIZENS There is widespread concern about the effectiveness of primary and secondary education in preparing young Americans for their lives in an increasingly complex world. Comparative examinations reveal that American pupils lag behind those of other nations in various disciplines. Fewer college students are choosing careers in science and engineering, and only half the doctorates in science and engineering awarded by U.S. universities are being granted to U.S. citizens. The surprise of Sputnik stimulated a reexamination of file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (13 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) the American U.S. education system. Improvements were forthcoming in the excitement generated by the Apollo program. Many look once again to the space program and to scientific research in space as possible sources of inspiration and stimulation for young citizens. It is evident that spaceflight and human travel in space are stimulating to young people and may provide motivation to pursue scientific and mathematical subjects in the schools. Information and new knowledge derived from space research may be exciting to young minds if presented in attractive formats. The data and information systems being developed to provide interactive access to information from space research for geographically distributed researchers could also provide valuable opportunities for pupils in grade schools and high schools. Appropriate computer and software systems would allow these pupils to explore new worlds, to see the Earth from a new vantage point, and to work intellectually with new concepts and new ideas stimulated by the procession of images flowing across their computer screens. Students can perform scientific investigations, albeit simple in some cases, if they have access to actual data from space. Such efforts to provide intellectual stimulation and participation could have important long-term benefits for young people. Space research provides a venue in which to teach the physical, chemical, and biological fundamentals that in today's standard curricula are so often presented in uninspired fashion. Some of the most important questions that space research addresses have intrinsic appeal to the nation's citizens. The origin of the universe, the nature of astronomical bodies and phenomena, the characteristics of other planets, the origins of life, and the preservation of the Earth's environment all attract public interest and could be translated into important educational opportunities for young citizens. NATIONAL AIMS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN SPACE From the beginning of the space program, this nation has viewed achievements in space engineering, technology, and research as instruments of its foreign policy, believing that leadership in space activities conferred an image of national vitality and power. Certainly, the successes of Apollo in landing humans on the Moon created an aura of national prowess that was of value in the Cold War competition with the Soviet Union and overshadowed the initial image of Soviet superiority in space. Since then, the nation's accomplishments in space science and applications and its attitudes toward space research have had important consequences. For example, the United States supports an "open skies" policy that any nation may openly and freely observe any place on Earth from space. As a corollary policy, we provide open and equal access to information derived from civil satellites. With few exceptions, other nations, including the [former] Soviet Union, have joined the United States in adhering to these policies. Similarly, it file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (14 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) has been U.S. policy for almost a century to exchange weather information freely and openly, a process facilitated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The WMO and its member countries have established standard observation times, and the U.S. weather satellites obtain temperature profiles at or near those times. The United States also participates in international scientific experiments, such as the Global Weather Experiment, with specific initiatives, including early launches and operations in space keyed to program needs. The United States has also begun a major cooperative program (Cassini) with the European Space Agency to explore Saturn and Titan. Cooperation and collaboration in scientific research in space with international partners continue to be components of the nation's efforts to stimulate international understanding and cooperation in broader areas. Cooperative projects with the [former] Soviet Union, with European nations through the European Space Agency, and with a host of countries through bilateral agreements have produced an environment in which international cooperation is commonplace and in which nations share specific aspects of collaborative efforts. Space Leadership and International Cooperation The notion of maintaining "leadership in space" constitutes national policy, as reiterated in the President's statement: "A fundamental objective guiding United States space activities has been, and continues to be, space leadership."14 However, the increasing complexity and cost of major space initiatives have stimulated a growing interest in international collaboration as a way of reducing national financial commitments to these initiatives. Thus for the civil space program, the National Space Policy states, as the fourth of six objectives, the determination "to preserve the United States preeminence in critical aspects of space science, applications, technology, and manned space flight." The sixth objective is "to engage in international cooperative efforts that further United States overall space goals."15 However, there are obvious difficulties in seeking international partners to share costs in efforts intended to enhance U.S. preeminence. Other nations engage in, or hope to engage in, space activities for the same reasons that the United States does. For many, the emphasis on a scientific or technological specialty will be the way to seek special status through unique and unusual accomplishment. As other nations take advantage of niches in space research, it will be increasingly difficult for the United States to excel and seek preeminence across the spectrum of "critical aspects of space science." Thus new levels of international competition in space will force the United States to make difficult choices in its space research program. Some argue for selecting certain areas of space science and applications in which to excel and then concentrating talent and resources on them, in effect abandoning leadership in other areas of space file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (15 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) research to any nations that wish to pursue them. Others argue that such choices should not be made a priori, but rather that the scientific space research program should pursue promising opportunities in space science and applications as they unfold. In either case, it will be necessary to develop a sensible process for examining alternatives and, eventually, for setting priorities among space research initiatives. Managing International Cooperation The scientific community and the space agencies can expect to manage an increasing number of space research initiatives conducted in collaboration with international partners. The U.S. scientific space research program already is deeply engaged in cooperative efforts at varying levels of international participation. With operational weather satellites, nations develop and implement independent systems designed to satisfy national needs but share results on a timely basis through long-standing international agreements and networks that serve all the nations of the world. In this case, development of the international capability has been evolutionary and driven by the needs of global weather research and prediction. These cooperative arrangements provide a foundation for creating the international structure of the Earth Observing System (EOS), in which major contributions from the United States, the European Space Agency (ESA), and Japan will be combined to form a system for long-term and detailed determination of the characteristics and rates of change of the Earth system. The International Solar-Terrestrial Physics program is similarly constructed, with independent spacecraft from Japan, the ESA, and NASA surveying distinct parts of the Earth's environment in space. Two other missions nearing launch involve international partnerships. The Ocean Topography Experiment (TOPEX/Poseidon) is a joint development with France. Cooperation with the Federal Republic of Germany and the ESA on the CRAF/ Cassini mission has, in the opinion of informed observers, led to significant improvements in design and capabilities. There are also examples in which international cooperation has not produced favorable results or has not been exploited adequately. The Omega/ VIMS endeavor was an attempt to build an instrument, canceled on Mars Observer for budgetary reasons, through an international partnership, but neither cost savings nor enhanced performance capabilities were obtained. The United States, despite the technological success of Landsat, failed to appreciate the opportunities for gathering, organizing, and taking advantage of information from remote sensing. Forcing Landsat into an under-funded, quasi-commercial venture precluded cooperation with other nations and perhaps contributed to successful development of French and Soviet Earth remote sensing programs with strong ties to applications. file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (16 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) These and other examples suggest some guidelines that should maximize benefits to participating partners in international cooperative ventures: Scientific accomplishments will be enhanced if international cooperation is guided by scientific goals rather than policies mandating cooperation as a way of reducing expenses. Scientific achievements, tempered by economic reality, should be the main motivation for international cooperation. The joint effort should be constructed, to the extent possible, so that each partner will make a contribution that, if successful, brings independent prestige and, if not successful, does not imperil the success of the entire venture. The joint effort should be constructed so that responsibilities are clearly identified and the interfaces between partners, their hardware, and their data and information systems are simple, precise, and robust. International cooperation in space research should be viewed as a means for scientific advancement, not merely as an end in itself. If correctly managed, it offers the potential for greatly enhancing accomplishment. International cooperation must be considered in selecting those space research initiatives that the nation should pursue. INFORMATION, KNOWLEDGE, AND UNDERSTANDING Information is a critical resource for many activities in the public and private sector alike, and managing information is now the critical task in most sophisticated activities.16 Developed nations increasingly depend on the gathering, communication, and effective use of information. In the United States, information-intensive industries (including banking, transportation, insurance, financial services, and professional services) accounted in 1975 for 10.2 percent of the gross national product, rising by 1985 to 12.8 percent and, according to the latest estimates, to 15 percent by 1989.17 The production and processing of information now constitute an enterprise larger than any of the major manufacturing industries in the United States. Revenues in 1983 from the communications, computer, information, and knowledge industries together were three times those of the steel industry, twice those of the automobile industry, and nearly half as large as those of the petroleum industry.18 Information management is increasingly critical to space research as the number of spacecraft increases, as the improved technology of instruments provides greater resolution in space, time, and wavelength, and as the program moves to the study of increasingly complex phenomena. Efficient handling of data from space and the conversion of data into information that can be shared file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (17 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) and used by geographically dispersed investigators become an important challenge in all components of the space research program. A variety of generic issues related to the philosophy, architecture, and management of distributed and interactive data and information systems are emerging. Because of the volume of space research data, the development of computer analysis techniques based on concepts of artificial intelligence offers promise and would seem to be inevitable. Success in developing the concepts, algorithms, and technology to implement such a program will create capabilities of value to industry, both here and abroad. DEFINITIONS Data are numerical quantities or other factual representations derived from observation, experiment, or calculation. Information is a collection of data concerning or characterizing a particular object, event, or process. Knowledge is information organized, synthesized, or summarized to enhance comprehension, awareness, and understanding. Understanding is the possession of a clear and complete idea of the nature, significance, or explanation of something; the power to render experience intelligible by ordering particulars under broad concepts. As it already has for information-intensive industries and components of government, focusing on information, knowledge, and the development of understanding provides an effective organizing principle for the space program's support of scientific research in space. Interest can be expected to turn from the mechanical aspects of placing objects or humans in orbit or on other celestial bodies to the information to be gathered and exploited: the key reward will be the understanding gained. To the extent it provides the means for the conduct of scientific research in space, the governing objective of the space program will be the same as that of scientific research-namely, to achieve the maximum amount of knowledge and understanding about physical objects and processes, about their origins, about biological processes, and about human performance in space or on other planetary bodies. Recognizing that the acquisition of data about complex systems and the conversion of this information into knowledge and understanding constitute the primary objective for scientific research in space and a major motivation for all space activities will have far-reaching, significant implications. Such an objective will file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (18 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) enhance the accomplishments of space research and applications and provide an intellectual basis and support for other components of the civil space program; stimulate national capabilities in international economic competition; enhance intellectual and economic activity throughout the nation; and provide a focus for U.S. education that will stimulate the interest of young citizens in science and engineering and in the rapidly changing technology influencing their lives. Moreover, such an objective will help to guide the process of contemplating and setting priorities for the space program and for scientific research in space. NOTES 1. Bush, Vannevar. 1945. Science—The Endless Frontier, A Report to the President (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.). 2. Clarke, Peter. 1991. "Bringing Space Home to the American People," speech delivered to the Seventh Annual National Space Symposium, Colorado Springs, Colo., April 10. 3. The White House, National Space Policy, November 2, 1989. 4. Another frequently cited case is that of "spinoffs," or technologies and services developed as by-products of space activities. For examples, see Spinoff (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1987) and Economic Impact and Technological Progress of NASA Research and Development Expenditures (Midwest Research Institute, Kansas City, Missouri, 1988). Many analyses have questioned the methodology and assumptions used in the study of spinoffs, however. For example, see Office of Technology Assessment, Research Funding as an Investment: Can We Measure the Returns? (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1986), and references therein. 5. For example, see Stokey, Edith, and Richard Zechhauser, 1978, A Primer for Public Policy Analysis (W.W. Norton & Co., New York), 356 pp., and Rosen, Harvey S., 1988, Public Finance, Chap. 12 (Irwin, Homewood, Ill.). 6. Brooks, Harvey. 1979. "The Problem of Research Priorities," in The Limits of Scientific Inquiry, Gerald Holton and Robert S. Morison, ed's. (W.W. Norton & Co., New York) 182 pp. file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (19 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) 7. National Research Council. 1988. Space Science in the Twenty-First Century—Imperatives for the Decades 1995 to 2015-Overview (National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.) p. 2. 8. Giacconi, Riccardo. 1989. "Science and Technology Policy: Space Science Strategies for the 1990s," in Space Policy Reconsidered, Radford Byerly, Jr., ed. (Westview Press, Boulder, Colo., 1989) p. 84. See also Space and Earth Sciences Advisory Committee, NASA Advisory Council. 1986. The Crisis in Space and Earth Sciences (NASA, Washington, D.C.). 9. For previous Space Studies Board discussion on the need for expendable launch vehicles, see "The Nation's Space Program After Challenger: The Need for a Reassessment of the Roles of Manned and Unmanned Systems for Launching Scientific Space Missions" (an unpublished report of the Space Studies Board, May 21, 1986). 10. See the comments in Wheelon, Albert D., "Toward a New Space Policy" and in Brewer, Garry D., "Perfect Places: NASA as an Idealized Institution," both in Byerly, Space Policy Reconsidered, 1989. 11. See Giacconi, "Space Science Strategies," pp. 95-98 in Byerly, Space Policy Reconsidered, 1989. 12. For more details on this concept, see the article by Macauley, Molly K. 1989. "Launch Vouchers for Space Science Research," Space Policy (Nov.): 311- 320. 13. For further discussion, see the following publications authored by the SSB's Committee on Data Management and Computation (CODMAC) (National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.): Data Management and Computation, Vol. l: Issues and Recommendations (1982); Issues and Recommendations Associated with Distributed Computation and Data Management Systems for the Space Sciences (1986); and Selected Issues in Space Science Data Management and Computation (1988). See also, Dutton, John A., 1989, "The EOS Data and Information System: Concepts for Design," IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 27, 109-116; and the Science Advisory Panel for EOS Data and Information, Initial Scientific Assessment on the EOS Data and Information System, EOS-99-1, 89-1 NASA. 14. The White House, National Space Policy, .1989, p. 1. 15. The White House, National Space Policy, ,1989, pp. 2-3. 16. See, for example, Drucker, Peter. 1989. The New Realities (Harper & Row, New York) 275 pp. file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (20 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]

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Setting Priorities for Space Research: Opportunities and Imperatives (Chapter 3) 17. Drennan, M.P. 1989. "Information Intensive Industries in Metropolitan Areas of the United States," Environment and Planning A, 21: 1603-1618. 18. Marchand, Donald, and Forest Horton. 1986. Infotrends: Profiting from Your Information Resources (John Wiley, New York) p. 31. Last update 11/15/00 at 9:18 am Site managed by Anne Simmons, Space Studies Board The National Academies Current Projects Publications Directories Search Site Map Feedback file:///C|/SSB_old_web/prio1ch3.htm (21 of 21) [6/21/2004 10:00:50 AM]