An ad hoc committee of the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Space Studies Board (SSB) will conduct an assessment of balance in NASA’s science programs as a third and final component of its response to Congressional language in the FY 2005 appropriations bill for NASA. That bill directed the SSB 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’s science disciplines, including Earth science, space science, and life and microgravity science, as well as the science conducted aboard the International Space Station, can make adequate progress towards their established goals, as well as providing balanced scientific research in addition to support of the new initiative” (Joint Explanatory Statement: (NASA Excerpts) Conference Report on H.R. 4818 Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005).
The committee, which will include some members of the Space Studies Board, will conduct a fast-track assessment of the programs embodied in NASA’s FY 2007 budget estimates and supplementary information. The study will consider whether the science program, as articulated in the FY 2007 budget estimate and supplementary information and its out-year run-out, is:
Appropriately inclusive of all relevant science disciplines (Earth and planetary sciences, life and microgravity sciences, astronomy and astrophysics, and solar and space physics);
Robust and capable of making adequate progress towards scientific goals as recommended in NRC decadal surveys; and
Appropriately balanced to reflect cross-disciplinary scientific priorities within the appropriate directorate, as recommended in NRC decadal surveys and other relevant scientific reviews.
In reviewing the NASA program, the committee will use the guiding principles recommended in the NRC report, Science in NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration, to assess NASA’s decision-making across scientific programs and the integrated approach to the program. The committee will also refer to published NRC decadal science strategy surveys when assessing individual disciplines as well as NRC advice regarding the contribution of particular science disciplines in NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration.
The committee will prepare a short report of approximately 10 to 20 pages. The report will summarize the previous two components of the SSB’s response to Congress,1 in the context of the additional insight provided by NASA’s 2007 budget submission, and include the third and final component that assesses the scientific program as it is presented in NASA’s FY 2007 budget.
The first component is presented in Science in NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration (National Research Council, 2005). The second component is covered in Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences (National Research Council, 2005 [prepublication]) and in Review of NASA Plans for the International Space Station (National Research Council, 2005 [prepublication]).