NOAA staff presented a series of briefings and tours at the NOAA SEC. Ernest Hildner and Barbara Poppe’s presentations were on NOAA’s Space Weather Program; Joseph Kunches’ presentation was “Predicting Extreme Events: The Halloween Storms of 2003”; and Howard Singer’s presentation was “Research and Development at SEC.” Marc Allen from NASA Headquarters provided an update on lunar mission and exploration planning. A special highlight was the Web telecast of the press conference on the Report of the President’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. Board member Meg Urry gave a science presentation on her work on supermassive black holes, and member Hap McSween briefed the Board on new results from the Mars Exploration Rovers.
Planning for the Executive Committee meeting on August 24-26 and the next Board meeting on November 17-19 also took place. Farewells were said to several retiring members: J. Roger Angel; James L. Burch, chair of the Committee on Solar and Space Physics; Howard M. Einspahr; Steven H. Flajser; Michael H. Freilich, chair of the Committee on Earth Studies; Don P. Giddens; Bruce D. Marcus; Robert Serafin; Mitchell Sogin; and C. Megan Urry.
Board staff members continue to work with the Board and other NRC staff to broaden our pool of qualified candidates from underrepresented minority populations who can be nominated to serve on study committees formed under the aegis of the Board. In keeping with this commitment, an SSB staff member attended the NASA 2004 Chicago Diversity Workshop in June. From this workshop we successfully identified candidates who could be considered for membership on forthcoming study committees.
The Space Studies Board did not meet during the third quarter; however, the SSB Executive Committee did meet on August 24-26 at the National Academies’ J. Erik Jonsson Woods Hole Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, for its annual strategic planning session. In addition to a general discussion with Al Diaz, the new NASA associate administrator for science, topics during the meeting included a review of roles and operations of the Board and its committees, several studies in progress, international topics, future SSB membership, potential new study projects, as well as planning for the November Board meeting.
SSB held its 144th meeting on November 17-19, at the National Academies’ Beckman Center in Irvine, California. The meeting provided a venue for wide-ranging discussions of guiding principles and major roles for science in the context of NASA’s new vision for space exploration. The meeting included presentations by and discussions with Al Diaz, NASA associate administrator for science, and Charles Elachi, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA director of advanced planning. Gerhard Haerandel, chair of the European Space Science Committee, Laurie Leshin, who served on the President’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy, and SSB member Radford Byerly, who was rapporteur for the report on the 2003 NRC space policy workshop, all gave background presentations to provide perspectives for the discussions. Various SSB members also provided summary overviews of recent relevant NRC science strategy reports for consideration at the meeting. Following open plenary sessions on November 17-18, the Ad Hoc Committee on the Scientific Context for Space Exploration, consisting of the SSB members present plus Laurie Leshin and U.S. COSPAR representative Edward Stone, met in closed session to outline a draft report. The report was sent to NRC external review in mid-December, and was released in the first quarter of 2005.
Other items covered at the meeting included the SSB’s annual bias and conflict of interest discussion, reviews of ongoing and potential new SSB studies, and plans for the spring meeting.
A summary of all reports published by the Space Studies Board during 2004 is presented in Table 2.1. Included in that collection were reports of interest to the NASA science offices and to the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NOAA. The reports included four full-length studies, two workshop reports, two letter reports, and a special publication for lay audiences.