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Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences Panel on Review of NASA Science Strategy Roadmaps Space Studies Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences 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 panel responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract NASW-01001 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 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 agency that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-09943-9 Copies of this report are available free of charge from: Space Studies Board National Research Council 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 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 2006 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences 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. Ralph J. Cicerone 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. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences Other Reports of the Space Studies Board The Astrophysical Context of Life (SSB with the Board on Life Sciences, 2005) Earth Science and Applications from Space: Urgent Needs and Opportunities to Serve the Nation (2005) Extending the Effective Lifetimes of Earth Observing Research Missions (2005) Principal-Investigator-Led Missions in the Space Sciences (2005) Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars (2005) Priorities in Space Science Enabled by Nuclear Power and Propulsion (SSB with the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board [ASEB], 2005) Review of NASA Plans for the International Space Station (2005) Science in NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration (2005) Assessment of Options for Extending the Life of the Hubble Space Telescope: Final Report (SSB with ASEB, 2004) Exploration of the Outer Heliosphere and the Local Interstellar Medium: A Workshop Report (2004) Issues and Opportunities Regarding the U.S. Space Program: A Summary Report of a Workshop on National Space Policy (SSB with ASEB, 2004) Plasma Physics of the Local Cosmos (2004) Review of Science Requirements for the Terrestrial Planet Finder: Letter Report (2004) Solar and Space Physics and Its Role in Space Exploration (2004) Understanding the Sun and Solar System Plasmas: Future Directions in Solar and Space Physics (2004) Utilization of Operational Environmental Satellite Data: Ensuring Readiness for 2010 and Beyond (SSB with ASEB and the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate [BASC], 2004) Assessment of NASA’s Draft 2003 Earth Science Enterprise Strategy: Letter Report (2003) Assessment of NASA’s Draft 2003 Space Science Enterprise Strategy: Letter Report (2003) Satellite Observations of the Earth’s Environment: Accelerating the Transition of Research to Operations (SSB with ASEB and BASC, 2003) Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions (2003) The Sun to the Earthand Beyond: Panel Reports (2003) Assessment of Directions in Microgravity and Physical Sciences Research at NASA (2002) New Frontiers in the Solar System: An Integrated Exploration Strategy (2002) The Sun to Earthand Beyond: A Decadal Research Strategy in Solar and Space Physics (2002) Limited copies of these reports are available free of charge from: Space Studies Board National Research Council The Keck Center of the National Academies 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001 (202) email@example.com www.nationalacademies.org/ssb/ssb.html NOTE: Listed according to year of approval for release.
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Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences PANEL ON REVIEW OF NASA SCIENCE STRATEGY ROADMAPS GEORGE A. PAULIKAS, The Aerospace Corporation (retired), Chair RETA F. BEEBE, New Mexico State University WENDY M. CALVIN, University of Nevada, Reno WILLIAM D. COCHRAN, University of Texas, Austin EDWARD FRIEDMAN, The Boeing Company SARAH T. GILLE, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego JOHN HAAS, Applied Research Associates, Inc. MICHAEL G. HAUSER, Space Telescope Science Institute CHRISTOPHER O. JUSTICE, University of Maryland JOHN W. LEIBACHER, National Solar Observatory ROBERT P. LIN, University of California, Berkeley MOLLY K. MACAULEY, Resources for the Future STEVEN R. MAJEWSKI, University of Virginia BARRY H. MAUK, Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory LOUISE M. PROCKTER, Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory J. CRAIG WHEELER, University of Texas, Austin Staff SANDRA J. GRAHAM, Study Director DWAYNE A. DAY, Research Associate MATTHEW BROUGHTON, Research Assistant CATHERINE A. GRUBER, Assistant Editor CELESTE NAYLOR, Senior Program Assistant
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Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences SPACE STUDIES BOARD LENNARD A. FISK, University of Michigan, Chair GEORGE A. PAULIKAS, The Aerospace Corporation (retired), Vice Chair SPIROS K. ANTIOCHOS,† Naval Research Laboratory DANIEL N. BAKER, University of Colorado ANA P. BARROS,* Duke University RETA F. BEEBE, New Mexico State University ROGER D. BLANDFORD, Stanford University RADFORD BYERLY, JR., University of Colorado JUDITH A. CURRY, Georgia Institute of Technology JACK D. FARMER, Arizona State University JACQUELINE N. HEWITT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology DONALD INGBER, Harvard Medical Center RALPH H. JACOBSON, The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (retired) TAMARA E. JERNIGAN, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory KLAUS KEIL,† University of Hawaii MARGARET G. KIVELSON,* University of California, Los Angeles DEBRA S. KNOPMAN,† RAND CALVIN W. LOWE, Bowie State University HARRY Y. McSWEEN, JR.,* University of Tennessee BERRIEN MOORE III, University of New Hampshire NORMAN NEUREITER, American Association for the Advancement of Science SUZANNE OPARIL, University of Alabama, Birmingham RONALD F. PROBSTEIN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology DENNIS W. READEY, Colorado School of Mines ANNA-LOUISE REYSENBACH,* Portland State University ROALD S. SAGDEEV,* University of Maryland CAROLUS J. SCHRIJVER,* Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory HARVEY D. TANANBAUM, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory RICHARD H. TRULY,† National Renewable Energy Laboratory (retired) J. CRAIG WHEELER, University of Texas, Austin A. THOMAS YOUNG, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired) GARY P. ZANK,† University of California, Riverside MARCIA SMITH, Director (from March 2006) JOSEPH K. ALEXANDER, Director (through October 2005) * Member until June 30, 2005. † Member starting July 1, 2005.
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Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences Foreword The Space Studies Board ascribes considerable significance to this report of the Panel on Review of NASA Science Strategy Roadmaps. During the many years of its existence, the Board has offered NASA advice on the strategies to pursue for a vibrant space and Earth science program. The advice has been delivered through many reports, the most notable of which are the comprehensive decadal science strategies. It is up to NASA, however, to determine how this advice is to be implemented, what is to be pursued in each discipline, and more important, what is the balance to be achieved among the various science disciplines. This report offers advice on the actual implementation of the nation’s space and Earth science program. NASA commissioned various strategic roadmaps for its science disciplines. They are a work in progress and serve as inputs to the NASA planning process. The Board and its review panel, working on behalf of the scientific community, appreciate being able to comment on each and to note their strengths and their weaknesses before NASA acts on them. The report also offers advice as to the principles that NASA should follow as it integrates the various science discipline plans. This advice is potentially the most significant part of the report because, as would be expected, the sum of the aspirations of the individual NASA roadmaps exceeds what is fiscally possible, and the integration process is where the hard decisions occur. The Space Studies Board is asked from time to time to review and comment on the content of the NASA space and Earth science program, and we expect that this will occur again. The principles presented here, by which a vibrant space and Earth science program should be assembled, will also serve as the standard against which NASA’s activities will be judged. Lennard A. Fisk, Chair Space Studies Board
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Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences Preface In January 2004 President George W. Bush announced that the U.S. space program would undertake “a renewed period of discovery,” and he charged NASA with focusing its efforts on exploration.a Subsequently referred to as the vision for space exploration, this policy included human and robotic missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. The group appointed by President Bush to recommend how to best implement the new policythe Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policyissued its report in June 2004.b The commission endorsed the objectives and actions specified in the president’s space exploration vision and recommended that NASA address certain new technology capabilities that the agency would need in its various endeavors during the next several decades. The commission also recommended that NASA “ask the National Academy of Sciences to engage its constituent scientific community in a reevaluation of priorities to exploit opportunities created by the space exploration vision.”c Then-NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe subsequently wrote to the presidents of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering proposing that the National Research Council (NRC) and NASA consider how to “collectively address the Commission’s recommendations.”d He also announced a new strategic planning process in which NASA would develop a set of strategic roadmaps for each of the major exploration objectives. Finally, Congress in its FY 2005 appropriations bill for NASA directed the “Space Studies Board to conduct a thorough review of the science that NASA is proposing to undertake under the space exploration initiative, and to develop a strategy by which all of NASA science disciplines … can make adequate progress toward their established goals as well as providing balanced scientific research in addition to support to the new initiative.”e The NRC’s initial, partial response to the recommendations of the president’s commission and the requests from Administrator O’Keefe and the Congress was provided in the Space Studies Board’s February 2005 report Science in NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration.f Contemporaneously with the preparation of that report and in response to the president’s direction, NASA created two complementary roadmapping efforts: a capabilities roadmapping effort and a strategy roadmapping effort. These were to be melded to produce an integrated space exploration a “President Bush Announces New Vision for Space Exploration Program, Remarks by the President on U.S. Space Policy, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.,” January 14, 2004. Available at <www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/01/20040114-3.html>. b President’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy, A Journey to Inspire, Innovate, and Discover, 2004, available at <govinfo.library.unt.edu/moontomars/>. c President’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy, A Journey to Inspire, Innovate, and Discover, 2004, p. 9. d Letter dated July 12, 2004, from NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe to National Academy of Sciences President Bruce Alberts. See Appendix A. e Conference Report (House Report 108-792) to Accompany H.R. 4818 FY 2005 Consolidated Appropriations Bill, Division I—Department of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies, “National Aeronautics and Space Administration,” p. 1. f NRC, Science in NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2005.
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Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences architecture for the agency. To further assist NASA, and in response to the various requests, the NRC organized separate, independent reviews of the expected NASA roadmaps. Thirteen committees were charged by NASA to develop strategy roadmaps for each of 13 strategic objectives. These committees included both NASA personnel and outside experts and operated under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, holding public meetings in the spring of 2005. The following 13 strategy roadmaps were planned: Robotic and Human Lunar Exploration, Robotic and Human Exploration of Mars, Solar System Exploration, Search for Earth-like Planets, Exploration Transportation System, International Space Station, Space Shuttle, Universe Exploration, Earth Science and Applications from Space, Sun-Solar System Connection, Aeronautical Technologies, Education, and Nuclear Systems. When Michael Griffin became NASA’s administrator in mid-April 2005, he directed that the agency accelerate the completion of some of the ongoing strategic roadmaps and deferred or redirected other portions of the strategic planning activities. The NRC review efforts were accordingly changed. The Space Studies Board, in collaboration with the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, was redirected to conduct two reviews (instead of five), the first to assess NASA’s science strategy roadmaps and the second to encompass the results of several ongoing NASA reviews of the future of the International Space Station that had superseded the International Space Station strategy roadmap. Six science strategy roadmap reports, all of which were produced by committees chartered by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, were provided to the NRC on May 23, 2005, and the NRC’s Panel on Review of NASA Science Strategy Roadmaps (see Appendix C for member biographies) met from June 13 to 15 to review them. (The NRC’s review of the plans for the space station was deferred to the fall of 2005.) The roadmaps were also provided to members of the Space Studies Board and to its five relevant standing committeesg to expand the range of perspectives and inputs available to the review panel. The NRC panel also included members of the Space Studies Board and these five standing committees. The roadmaps reviewed by the panel addressed six objectives: Robotic and Human Exploration of Mars, Solar System Exploration, Universe Exploration, Search for Earth-like Planets, Earth Science and Applications from Space, and Sun-Solar System Connection. The panel did not review NASA’s Robotic and Human Lunar Exploration roadmap, which was chartered by the agency’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate but not completed. The panel was given the following charge: Assess the intrinsic merit of the proposed roadmap objectives and of their proposed implementing programs, especially with respect to relevant NRC or other external advisory reports. Assess whether clear arguments are made for their potential for contributing decisive or transformational technological or scientific advancements. g The standing committees are the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics, Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration, Committee on Solar and Space Physics, Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life, and Committee on Earth Studies.
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Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences Ascertain whether there are any significant gaps or if there are important crosscutting opportunities or scientific infrastructure issues that are not identified and adequately developed. To the extent feasible, within the constraints of the schedule and the availability of NASA material for review, [the panel will] also consider the following: Initial priorities and decision rules for making prioritization decisions; Relationships between program elements; Schedule, resource, and technology realism; and Relationships between NASA and non-NASA participants from the perspective of whether the roadmaps can make adequate progress toward their established goals as well as provide scientific research support of the vision for space exploration. The panel’s review was conducted under an expedited schedule in June and July 2005 so that the results would be available to the government and the public in August 2005. The panel emphasizes that the roadmaps represent inputs to NASA’s strategic planning process rather than final documents representing agency policy. Accordingly, the panel treated the roadmaps as interim inputs to NASA. In response to its charge from NASA and the Congress, the panel evaluated the roadmaps from two perspectivesfirst, as individual research themes and, second, perhaps more important, as elements of an overarching space and Earth science program of exploration whose integration and prioritization can best be accomplished through application of several fundamental principles. The panel’s findings and recommendations specific to the individual roadmaps are presented in Chapters 2 through 6. Chapter 7 offers recommendations on principles concerning prioritization and integration of the various roadmaps.
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Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences Acknowledgment of Reviewers 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 National Research Council’s (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 thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Richard Anthes, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Anthony W. England, University of Michigan, Larry Esposito, University of Colorado, Jack Farmer, Arizona State University, Jacqueline Hewitt, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sara Seager, Carnegie Institution, Norm Sleep, Stanford University, David H. Weinberg, Ohio State University, and Thomas Zurbuchen, University of Michigan. 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 Alan Dressler, Observatories of the Carnegie Institution. Appointed by the NRC, he was 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 panel and the institution.
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Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND 7 References, 9 2 ROBOTIC AND HUMAN EXPLORATION OF MARS 10 Science Goals and Objectives, 10 Missions, 10 Scientific Utility of Humans on Mars, 11 Mission Class Size and Mix, 12 Crosscutting Opportunities, 12 Other Issues, 13 References, 14 3 SOLAR SYSTEM EXPLORATION 16 Science Goals and Objectives, 16 Mission Class Size and Mix, 17 Crosscutting Opportunities, 18 Capability Issues, 18 References, 19 4 UNIVERSE EXPLORATION AND THE SEARCH FOR EARTH-LIKE PLANETS 20 Universe Exploration Roadmap: From the Big Bang to Life, 20 Search for Earth-like Planets Roadmap, 22 Crosscutting Scientific Issues, 24 Crosscutting Capability Issues, 24 References, 25 5 EARTH SCIENCE AND APPLICATIONS FROM SPACE 27 Review of Proposed Objectives, 27 Review of Proposed Implementing Programs, 28 Gaps, Opportunities, and Infrastructure, 29 Schedule, Resources, and Partnerships, 30 Scientific Research Support for the Vision for Space Exploration, 30 References, 31 6 SUN-SOLAR SYSTEM CONNECTION 32 Intrinsic Merit of the Sun-Solar System Connection Roadmap Science Program, 32 Gaps, Crosscutting Issues, and Infrastructure, 33 References, 34
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Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences 7 CROSSCUTTING AND INTEGRATION ISSUES 36 Principles of Integrating Science Strategic Roadmaps, 37 References, 40 APPENDIXES A Letters from NASA 43 B Acronyms and Abbreviations 48 C Biographies of Panel Members and Staff 50 D Missions in NASA Strategic Roadmaps 55