new exploration vision includes the scientific goals articulated in the Beyond Einstein roadmap. The committee believes that maintaining the breadth of the astronomy and astrophysics enterprise at NASA is consistent with the new exploration vision.
Agencies need to move aggressively to advance areas that are ripe for discovery. Still, even the most exciting science has to proceed in a way that takes into account necessary precursor science and critical challenges in technology development. The new exploration initiative will surely open unanticipated opportunities that will have to be evaluated and folded into the next decadal survey process. A well-planned, carefully considered strategy will ensure that the nation’s valuable resources are used optimally to meet its highest-priority scientific goals. The peer review basic to the decadal survey process of prioritization and to the selection process for mission lines like Explorers and the Einstein Probes helps to ensure the critical examination essential to developing a successful national program.
The committee and the community it represents value immensely the ongoing dialog between the astronomy and astrophysics community and the agencies. The process whereby the community assesses scientific priorities in decadal surveys and the agencies implement the vision articulated in these surveys, taking into account the practicalities of technology readiness and the realities of programmatic concerns, has served both the scientific community and the U.S. public well for many years. It is this committee’s assessment that progress toward the strategy articulated in the AANM and Connecting Quarks with the Cosmos reports underscores the continuing success and vitality of the strategy. As long as the necessary breadth and balance are maintained in the current scientific program for astronomy and astrophysics, prospects for an unprecedented decade of discovery are indeed bright.
C. Megan Urry
Chair, Committee to Review Progress in Astronomy and Astrophysics
Toward the Decadal Vision