ASSESSMENT OF THE NASA APPLIED SCIENCES PROGRAM

Committee on Extending Observations and Research Results to Practical Applications: A Review of NASA’s Approach

Geographical Sciences Committee

Board on Earth Sciences and Resources

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

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Assessment of the NASA Applied Sciences Program ASSESSMENT OF THE NASA APPLIED SCIENCES PROGRAM Committee on Extending Observations and Research Results to Practical Applications: A Review of NASA’s Approach Geographical Sciences Committee Board on Earth Sciences and Resources Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Assessment of the NASA Applied Sciences Program 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 committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations contained in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the agency that provided support for the project. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. government. The study was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Contract No. NNH05CC15C/TO106. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-11075-4 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-11075-0 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. Cover: Designed by Michael Dudzik. The three images at the top depict three applications areas from the NASA Applied Sciences Program, agriculture, aviation, and water management (courtesy of the NASA Applied Science Program). The bottom Landsat 7 image shows the distribution of sediment washed into the ocean off the North Carolina coast as a result of Hurricane Floyd’s rains (courtesy of NASA’s Visible Earth Project, http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/). Copyright 2007 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Assessment of the NASA Applied Sciences Program 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. Charles M. Vest 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. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Assessment of the NASA Applied Sciences Program COMMITTEE ON EXTENDING OBSERVATIONS AND RESEARCH RESULTS TO PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: A REVIEW OF NASA’S APPROACH THOMAS J. WILBANKS, Chair, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee MICHAEL J. AUERBACH, Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada NANCY M. DICKSON, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts GEORGE L. FREDERICK, Falcon Consultants LLC, Georgetown, Texas B. JOHN GARRICK, Private consultant, Laguna Beach, California JOHN R. JENSEN, University of South Carolina, Columbia THOMAS L. MOTE, University of Georgia, Athens FRANK E. MULLER-KARGER, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth and University of South Florida, St. Petersburg DENNIS OJIMA, The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, Washington, D.C. and Colorado State University, Fort Collins JONATHAN A. PATZ, University of Wisconsin, Madison JAMES RATTLING LEAF SR., Sinte Gleska University, Mission, South Dakota ANDREW R. SOLOW, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts National Research Council Staff ELIZABETH A. EIDE, Study Director (Until October 2006 and from May 2007) PAUL M. CUTLER, Study Director (From October 2006 through June 2007) JARED P. ENO, Senior Program Assistant (Until April 2006) NICHOLAS D. ROGERS, Senior Program Assistant (From April 2006)

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Assessment of the NASA Applied Sciences Program GEOGRAPHICAL SCIENCES COMMITTEE ROGER M. DOWNS, Chair, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park LUC E. ANSELIN, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign WILLIAM A. V. CLARK, University of California, Los Angeles SUSAN L. CUTTER, University of South Carolina, Columbia WILLIAM E. EASTERLING III, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park PATRICIA GOBER, Arizona State University, Tempe CAROL P. HARDEN, University of Tennessee, Knoxville CALESTOUS JUMA, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts VICTORIA A. LAWSON, University of Washington, Seattle JONATHAN D. MAYER, University of Washington, Seattle THOMAS M. PARRIS, ISciences LLC, Burlington, Vermont NORBERT P. PSUTY, Rutgers University, Sandy Hook DAVID L. SKOLE, Michigan State University, East Lansing National Research Council Staff PAUL M. CUTLER, Senior Program Officer CAETLIN M. OFIESH, Research Associate VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative and Financial Associate

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Assessment of the NASA Applied Sciences Program BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES GEORGEM. HORNBERGER, Chair, University of Virginia, Charlottesville GREGORY B. BAECHER, University of Maryland, College Park STEVEN R. BOHLEN, Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Washington, D.C. KEITH C. CLARKE, University of California, Santa Barbara DAVID COWEN, University of South Carolina, Columbia WILLIAM E. DIETRICH, University of California, Berkeley ROGER M. DOWNS, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park JEFF DOZIER, University of California, Santa Barbara KATHERINE H. FREEMAN, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park RHEA L. GRAHAM, Pueblo of Sandia, Bernalillo, New Mexico RUSSELL J. HEMLEY, Carnegie Institution of Washington, District of Columbia MURRAY W. HITZMAN, Colorado School of Mines, Golden V. RAMA MURTHY, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (retired) CLAYTON NICHOLS, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (retired), Standpoint RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada BARBARA A. ROMANOWICZ, University of California, Berkeley JOAQUIN RUIZ, University of Arizona, Tucson MARK SCHAEFER, Global Environment and Technology Foundation, Arlington, Virginia WILLIAM W. SHILTS, Illinois State Geological Survey, Champaign RUSSELL STANDS-OVER-BULL, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Billings, Montana TERRY C. WALLACE JR., Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico THOMAS J. WILBANKS, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee National Research Council Staff ANTHONY R. DE SOUZA, Director PAUL M. CUTLER, Senior Program Officer ELIZABETH A. EIDE, Senior Program Officer DAVID A. FEARY, Senior Program Officer

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Assessment of the NASA Applied Sciences Program ANNE M. LINN, Senior Program Officer ANN G. FRAZIER, Program Officer SAMMANTHA L. MAGSINO, Program Officer RONALD F. ABLER, Senior Scholar CAETLIN M. OFIESH, Research Associate JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Administrative Associate VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative and Financial Associate JARED P. ENO, Senior Program Assistant NICHOLAS D. ROGERS, Senior Program Assistant TONYA E. FONG YEE, Program Assistant

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Assessment of the NASA Applied Sciences Program PREFACE The Applied Sciences Program (ASP) is the focus for Earth science applications at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) today. NASA’s draft plan for the present structure of ASP was reviewed by the National Research Council (NRC, 2002a) and in 2004, NASA published its draft plan in response to the NRC report. One of the recommendations from the NRC report was for the ASP to seek another independent evaluation after several years of operation in its new structure. NASA and the ASP leadership thus asked the NRC in 2005 to form an ad hoc committee to assess their approach to extend research results to practical societal applications. In response to this request the NRC established the Committee on Extending Observations and Research Results to Practical Applications. The assessment was designed to focus on ASP’s overall approach, including the program’s strengths and weaknesses in realizing societal benefits through Earth observations, and the extent and success of ASP’s engagement of federal and nonfederal sectors to use NASA data and research in decision-support systems. The committee consisted of 12 individuals with experience in generating and applying remotely sensed data in decision-support projects, users of decision-support tools, researchers producing results incorporated in decision-support tools, and scientists with experience in determining the types of information and tools that users require (Appendix A). To address its statement of task, the committee reviewed relevant NRC reports and information submitted by external sources, including written data and information requested from ASP (Appendix B; ASP, 2006). Presentations at three open meetings in 2006 (Appendix C) and information from telephone interviews, published reports and other literature, and the committee’s own experience were also part of the assessment process. Additional information was requested from several federal agencies subsequent to the committee’s three open informational meetings. The committee’s final meeting in October 2006 was a closed session in which the committee deliberated the main conclusions and recommendations for the report. The committee benefited during its writing process from the results of a recent NRC report “Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond” (NRC, 2007a),

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Assessment of the NASA Applied Sciences Program which recommended primary issues NASA should consider during the next decade in applying its Earth data and research to achieve societal benefits. Some of these recommendations have direct relevance for ASP and are examined briefly in this report. Where appropriate, the committee attempted throughout the report to maintain a distinction between which issues were those that could be considered more broadly NASA’s responsibilities versus those issues that were specific to ASP. With a need to address both established, ongoing partnerships and potential partners who had little or no current activity with NASA through the ASP, the committee took a broad approach to its information-gathering and sought expert input from a variety of federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations representative of this range of existing and potential partners and users of NASA products. The committee attempted to gain a similar, representative level of input from all testimony it received through posing a set of questions to all of its external information providers. The committee opted to obtain slightly more detailed responses from a portion of this testimony group. The committee was grateful for a detailed, written response to committee questions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), provided through the NOAA Research Council (NOAA Research Council, 2006). In the case of the federal agencies, the committee received generally constructive and immediate responses, but did not receive responses to its inquiries from a few agencies with established NASA partnerships, despite several attempts to reach these offices. Lack of response could indicate that the agency had no information to provide, or possibly that the committee might not have contacted the correct persons to respond appropriately. Without resources to provide follow-up in each case of no response, the committee determined that it had obtained adequate responses from a broad enough spectrum of users of NASA products to reach its conclusions and recommendations with confidence. As a final point, the report contains a historical overview of applied sciences at NASA that was not a specific part of the committee’s charge but which the committee felt provided important context for the present ASP structure. Because the committee could identify no official documentation of this history, the information contained in this section of the report represents a summary of the results of telephone discussions with 14 individuals either formerly or currently with NASA or directly involved in NASA projects. Though some subjectivity in the nature of information gathered in this fashion is inevitable, the accuracy of the information was fact-checked with present and former ASP staff and effort was made in writing the text to maintain its overall objectivity.

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Assessment of the NASA Applied Sciences Program This report and its recommendations are a result of the consensus of the committee. The recommendations address the statement of task and apply to NASA and ASP, but the needs of other agencies, and nonfederal groups that use or could use NASA data factored into the committee’s deliberations and its recommendations. Members of the committee provided keen insights and took part in drafting the report. We were assisted in our efforts by Elizabeth Eide and Paul Cutler, study directors, and Nicholas Rogers, senior program assistant, from the NRC. Thomas J. Wilbanks Chair August 2007

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Assessment of the NASA Applied Sciences Program ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This report was greatly enhanced by input from numerous contributors (Appendix C): Robert Adler, Laurie Ames, Chris Barnard, Ronald Birk, Otis Brown, Pietro Ceccato, Brad Colman, Brad Doorn, Paul Doraiswamy, Marty Frederick, Lawrence Friedl, Teresa Fryberger, Gerald Galloway, Shahid Habib, Robert Harriss, Charles Hutchinson, Anthony Janetos, John Kappenman, Jack Kaye, John LaBrecque, Ricardo Lopez-Torrijos, Alexis Lugo-Fernandez, Nancy Maynard, Ken Miller, John Murray, Scott Pace, Fritz Policelli, Diane Powers, Sethu Raman, Mitch Roffer, Cynthia Rosenzweig, Joseph Russo, Ed Sheffner, Michael Steinberg, J. Marshall Shepherd, Alex Toyahov, Louis Uccellini, Charles Walthall, Mark Weltz, and Dorsey Worthy. These presentations and discussions set the stage for the committee’s deliberations in the sessions that followed. 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 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 wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Janet Campbell, University of New Hampshire, Durham Elizabeth A. Chornesky, Independent Consultant, Carmel, California William B. Gail, Microsoft Corporation, Boulder, Colorado Jack Harrald, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. Jerry Hatfield, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ames, Iowa Charles Hutchinson, University of Arizona, Tucson Anthony Janetos, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, College Park, Maryland Jeffrey Ritchey, University of Washington, Seattle William Smith, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia 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

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Assessment of the NASA Applied Sciences Program report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Ruth DeFries, University of Maryland, College Park. Appointed by the NRC, she 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 committee and the institution.

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Assessment of the NASA Applied Sciences Program CONTENTS     SUMMARY   1 1   NASA AND APPLIED SCIENCES   11      Introduction and Study Scope   11      Contemporary Governmentwide Emphases Affecting NASA’s Approach to Applications   14      Recent NRC Feedback to NASA on Earth Science and Applications from Space   16      Historical Context   17      Committee Approach and Report Roadmap   24 2   THE CURRENT NASA APPLIED SCIENCES PROGRAM   27      Details of the Current Program   27      Strengths and Weaknesses of ASP’s Approach   35      Summary   45 3   PARTNERSHIPS WITH FEDERAL AGENCIES   47      The Process of Engagement   48      NASA’s Relationship with NOAA   59      Improving the Efficiency of NASA’s Federal Relationships   68      Summary   75

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Assessment of the NASA Applied Sciences Program 4   BEYOND FEDERAL PARTNERSHIPS: ENGAGEMENT WITH THE BROADER COMMUNITY OF USERS   77      The Process of Engagement   78      Assessment of Engagement Activities   79      Metrics, Documentation, Requirements, and Accountability   87      Involvement of the Broader Community in Applications of National Priority   89      Benefits of Engaging the Broader Community   92      Engaging the Broader Community   93      Summary   93 5   ACHIEVING THE OBJECTIVES OF NASA’S APPLIED SCIENCES PROGRAM   95      User Expectations   95      NASA’s Integrated Systems Solution Architecture   100      Strategic Planning   103      Summary   105 6   CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS   109      Conclusions   110      Recommendations   113     REFERENCES   117     APPENDIXES          A  Committee and Staff Biographies   123      B  Questions and Requests for Information, NASA Applied Sciences Program   129      C  Open Meeting Agendas and Study Contributors   133      D  Acronyms and Abbreviations   139      E  Earth Science System Components   143