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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 2006 1 Charter and Organization of the Board THE ORIGINS OF THE SPACE SCIENCE BOARD The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was created in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln, to provide scientific and technical advice to the government of the United States. Over the years, the breadth of the institution has expanded, leading to the establishment of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 1964 and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 1970. The National Research Council (NRC), the operational arm of the National Academies, was founded in 1916. The NAS, NAE, IOM, and NRC are collectively referred to as “The National Academies.” More information is available at http://nationalacademies.org. The original charter of the Space Science Board was established in June 1958, three months before the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) opened its doors. The Space Science Board and its successor, the Space Studies Board (SSB), have provided expert external and independent scientific and programmatic advice to NASA on a continuous basis from NASA’s inception until the present. The Board has also provided such advice to other executive branch agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Department of Defense, as well as to Congress. The fundamental charter of the Board today remains that defined by National Academy of Sciences’ president Detlev W. Bronk in a letter to Lloyd V. Berkner, first chair of the Board, on June 26, 1958, which established the SSB: We have talked of the main task of the Board in three parts—the immediate program, the long-range program, and the international aspects of both. In all three we shall look to the Board to be the focus of the interests and responsibilities of the Academy-Research Council in space science; to establish necessary relationships with civilian science and with governmental science activities, particularly the proposed new space agency, the National Science Foundation, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency; to represent the Academy-Research Council complex in our international relations in this field on behalf of American science and scientists; to seek ways to stimulate needed research; to promote necessary coordination of scientific effort; and to provide such advice and recommendations to appropriate individuals and agencies with regard to space science as may in the Board’s judgment be desirable. As we have already agreed, the Board is intended to be an advisory, consultative, correlating, evaluating body and not an operating agency in the field of space science. It should avoid responsibility as a Board for the conduct of any programs of space research and for the formulation of budgets relative thereto. Advice to agencies properly responsible for these matters, on the other hand, would be within its purview to provide. The Space Science Board changed its name to the Space Studies Board in 1989 to reflect its expanded scope, which now includes space applications and other topics. Today, the Space Studies Board exists to provide an independent, authoritative forum for information and advice on all aspects of space science and applications, and it
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 2006 serves as the focal point within the National Academies for activities on space research. It oversees advisory studies and program assessments, facilitates international research coordination, and promotes communications on space science and science policy among the research community, the federal government, and the interested public. The SSB also serves as the U.S. National Committee for the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) of the International Council for Science (ICSU). THE SPACE STUDIES BOARD TODAY The Space Studies Board is a unit of the NRC’s Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences (DEPS). DEPS is one of six major program units of the NRC through which the institution conducts its operations on behalf of NAS, NAE, and IOM. Within DEPS there are a total of 13 boards that cover a broad range of physical science and engineering disciplines and mission areas. Members of the DEPS Committee on Engineering and Physical Sciences (DEPSCOM) provide advice on Board membership and on proposed new projects to be undertaken by ad hoc study committees formed under the SSB’s auspices. Every 3 years, DEPSCOM reviews the overall operations of each of the DEPS Boards. The next review of the SSB will take place in 2007. The “Space Studies Board” encompasses the Board itself, its standing committees (see Chapter 2), and ad hoc study committees (see Chapter 3), and its staff. The Board is composed of prominent scientists, engineers, industrialists, scholars, and policy experts in space research appointed for 2-year staggered terms. They represent seven space research disciplines: space-based astrophysics, heliophysics (also referred to as solar and space physics), Earth science, solar system exploration, microgravity life and physical sciences, space systems and technology, and science and technology policy. In 2006, there were 23 Board members. The chairs of the SSB’s standing committees are members of the Board, and of its Executive Committee. The chair of the NRC’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) and the U.S. representative to COSPAR are ex officio members. A standing liaison arrangement also has been established with the European Space Science Committee (ESSC), part of the European Science Foundation, and the NRC’s Ocean Studies Board. Organization The organization of the SSB in 2006 is illustrated in Figure 1.1. Taken together, the Board and its standing and ad hoc study committees generally hold as many as 40 meetings during the year. Major Functions of the Space Studies Board The Board provides an independent, authoritative forum for information and advice on all aspects of space science and applications and serves as the focal point within the National Academies for activities on space research. The Board itself does not conduct studies, but it oversees advisory studies and program assessments conducted by ad hoc study committees (see Chapter 3) formed in response to a request from a sponsor. All projects proposed to be conducted by ad hoc study committees under the auspices of the SSB must be reviewed and approved by the chair and vice-chair of the Board (as well as other NRC officials). Decadal surveys are a signature product of the Board, providing strategic direction to NASA, NOAA, and other agencies on the top priorities over the next 10 years in astronomy and astrophysics, solar system exploration, solar and space physics, and Earth science. (The astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey is a joint effort with the NRC’s Board on Physics and Astronomy.) The Board serves as a communications bridge on space research and science policy among the scientific research community, the federal government, and the interested public. The Board ordinarily meets three times per year (March, June, and November) to review the activities of its committees and to be briefed on and discuss major space policy issues. The November Board meeting typically involves a workshop on a topic of current interest and results in a workshop report. In 2006, that topic was a review of how the Board conducts its “decadal surveys” of specific space research disciplines. The goal of the workshop was to review how the decadal surveys are conducted and to recommend methods to ensure that the decadal surveys remain credible and resilient during the 10-year period they cover. The report of the workshop, which was published in 2007, is available at http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11894.
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 2006 FIGURE 1.1 Organization of the Space Studies Board, its standing committees, and ad hoc study committees in 2006. Shaded boxes denote activities performed in cooperation with other National Research Council units.
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 2006 International Representation and Cooperation The Board serves as the U.S. National Committee for COSPAR, an international, multidisciplinary forum for exchanging space science research. Board members may individually participate in COSPAR scientific sessions to present their research or, occasionally, present the results of an SSB report to the international community, or conduct informal information exchange sessions with national entities within COSPAR scientific assemblies. The Board also has a regular practice of exchanging observers with the European Space Science Committee, which is part of the European Science Foundation (see http://www.esf.org/). Space Studies Board Committees Executive Committee The Executive Committee (XCOM), composed entirely of Board members, facilitates the conduct of the Board’s business, permits the Board to move rapidly to lay the groundwork for new study activities, and provides strategic planning advice. XCOM meets annually for a session on the assessment of SSB operations and future planning. Its membership includes the chair and vice-chair of the Board, the chairs of the standing committees, and one Board member for each discipline that does not have a standing committee. Standing Committees Discipline-based standing committees are the means by which the Board conducts its oversight of specific space research disciplines. Each standing committee is composed of about a dozen specialists, appointed to represent the broad sweep of research areas within the discipline. Like the Board itself, each standing committee serves as a communications bridge with its associated research community and participates in identifying new projects and prospective members of ad hoc study committees. Standing committees do not, themselves, write reports, but oversee reports written by ad hoc study committees created under their auspices. At the beginning of 2006, SSB had seven standing committees: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA) Committee on Earth Studies (CES) Committee on Microgravity Research (CMGR) Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life (COEL) Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX) Committee on Solar and Space Physics (CSSP) Committee on Space Biology and Medicine (CSBM) On August 18, 2006, a new 5-year contract with NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) came into effect to support the operations of the Board and its standing committees. Due to a reorganization within NASA, the disciplines of microgravity life and physical sciences were moved out of SMD and into the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Consequently, the new contract with SMD did not support the continuation of CSBM or CMGR and those committees were abolished. Ad Hoc Study Committees Ad hoc study committees are created by NRC action to conduct specific studies at the request of sponsors. These committees typically produce NRC reports that provide advice to the government and therefore are governed by Section 15 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). Ad hoc study committees usually write their reports after holding two or three information-gathering meetings, although in some cases they may hold a workshop in addition to or instead of information gathering meetings.
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 2006 In other cases, workshops are organized by ad hoc study committees that serve as organizers only, and the workshop report is written by a rapporteur and does not contain findings or recommendations. In those cases, the study committee is not governed by FACA Section 15 since no NRC advice results from the workshop. The ad hoc study committees that were in place during 2006 are summarized in Chapter 3. COLLABORATION WITH OTHER NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL UNITS Much of the work of the Board involves topics that fall entirely within its principal areas of responsibility and can be addressed readily by its members and committees. However, there are other situations in which the need for breadth of expertise, alternative points of view, or synergy with other NRC projects leads to collaboration with other units of the NRC. The Space Studies Board has engaged in many such multi-unit collaborations. Among the NRC Boards with which the SSB works most often are the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, the Board on Physics and Astronomy, the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, the Board on Life Sciences, and the Ocean Studies Board. This approach to projects has the potential to bring more of the full capability of the National Academies to bear in preparing advice for the federal government and the public. Multi-unit collaborative projects also present new challenges—namely, to manage the projects in a way that achieves economies of scale and true synergy rather than just adding cost or complexity. Collaborative relationships between the SSB and other NRC units during 2006 are illustrated in Figure 1.1. ASSURING THE QUALITY OF SSB REPORTS A summary listing of all Space Studies Board reports released during 2006 is presented in Table 1.1. Included are reports of interest to NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, NASA’s Exploration Systems Directorate, the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Defense. A major contributor to the quality of these reports is the requirement that NRC reports are peer-reviewed. Except for the Space Studies Board Annual Report—2005, all of the reports were subjected to extensive peer review, which is overseen by the NRC’s Report Review Committee (RRC). Typically 4 to 7 reviewers (occasionally as many as 15 or more) are selected on the basis of recommendations by NAS and NAE section liaisons, SSB members, and staff. The reviewers are subject to approval by the NRC. The identities of external reviewers are not known to a report’s authors until after the review has been completed and the report has been approved by the RRC. The report’s authors, with the assistance of SSB staff, must provide some response to every specific comment from every external reviewer. To ensure that appropriate technical revisions are made to the report and that the revised report complies with NRC policy and standards, the response-to-review process is overseen and refereed by an independent monitor, or in some cases, also by a coordinator. Monitors are appointed by the RRC and are members of the NAS, NAE, or IOM. Coordinators are appointed by DEPS and typically have specific subject area knowledge of the topic of the report. All of the reviews emphasize the need for scientific and technical clarity and accuracy and for proper substantiation of the findings and recommendations presented in the report. Names of the external reviewers, including the monitor (and coordinator if one was appointed), are published in the final report, but their individual comments are not released. Another important method to ensure high-quality work derives from the size, breadth, and depth of the cadre of experts who serve on SSB and its committees or participate in other ways in the activities of the Board. Some highlights of the demographics of the SSB in 2006 are presented in Tables 1.2 and 1.3. During 2006, a total of 355 individuals from 99 colleges and universities and 87 other public or private organizations served as formally-appointed members of the Board and its committees. Over 220 individuals participated in SSB activities either as presenters or as invited workshop participants. The report review process is as important as the writing of reports, and during 2006, 52 different external reviewers contributed to critiques of draft reports. Overall, more than 600 individuals from 105 academic institutions, 69 industry or nonprofit organizations, and 35 government agencies or offices participated in SSB activities. That number included 48 members of NAS, NAE, or IOM. Being able to draw on such a broad base of expertise is a unique strength of the NRC advisory process.
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 2006 TABLE 1.1 Space Studies Board Reports Released in 2006 Report Title Oversight Committee or Boarda Principal Agency Audienceb SMD ESMD NOAA NSF OTHER “A Review of NASA’s 2006 Draft Science Plan” [short report] SSB X An Assessment of Balance in NASA’s Science Programs SSB X “Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Venus Missions” [short report] COEL X Distributed Arrays of Small Instruments for Solar-Terrestrial Research: Report of a Workshop CSSP X X Issues Affecting the Future of the U.S. Space Science and Engineering Workforce: Interim Report SSB X X Review of the Next Decade Mars Architecturec COMPLEX X The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon: Interim Report COMPLEX X X X Space Radiation Hazards and the Vision for Space Exploration: Report of a Workshop CSSP X X DOD Space Studies Board Annual Report—2005 SSB All aOversight committee or board CSSP Committee on Solar and Space Physics COMPLEX Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration SSB Space Studies Board bPrincipal agency audience SMD NASA Science Mission Directorate ESMD NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NSF National Science Foundation DOD Department of Defense cAn earlier, edited version of this report, formatted as a letter, was sent to NASA on June 30, 2006. TABLE 1.2 Experts Involved in the Space Studies Board and Its Subunits, January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2006 Number of Board and Committee Members Number of Institutions or Agencies Represented Academia 232 99 Government and national facilitiesa 38 23 Private industry 43 31 Nonprofit and otherb 42 33 Totalc,d 355 186 aIncludes NASA and other U.S. agencies and national facilities (e.g., Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), NOAA). bOther includes foreign institutions and entities not classified elsewhere. cIncludes 36 NAS, NAE, IOM members. dThirty-two SSB members, 323 committee members.
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 2006 TABLE 1.3 Summary of Participation in Space Studies Board Activities, January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2006 Academia Government and National Facilitiesa Private Industry Nonprofit and Others Total Individuals Board/committee members 232 38 43 42 355 Guest experts 63 71 10 19 165 Reviewers 37 6 6 3 52 Workshop participants 23 24 12 7 66 Total 355 139 71 71 638 NOTE: Counts of individuals are subject to an uncertainty of ±3 due to possible miscategorization. aIncludes government agencies and national facilities (e.g., National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), LANL, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Space Telescope Science Institute, Applied Physics Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Naval Research Laboratory). Total number of NAS, NAE, and/or IOM members 48 Total number of non-U.S. participants 13 Total number of countries represented, including United States 6 Total number of participants by gender 378(M); 93(F) Total number of different institutions represented Academia 105 Government and national facilities 35 Industry 34 Nonprofit and other 35 U.S. government agencies represented: NASA, NOAA, National Science Foundation, NIST, USGS, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Science and Technology Policy, Office of Management and Budget, Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Congress. PERFORMANCE MEASURES One way to assess the performance of the SSB is to examine the extent to which the Board’s efforts have been relevant to the full range of government interests in civilian space research. Figure 1.2 summarizes the principal federal agency audiences to which SSB reports were directed from 2000 through 2006. Reports on NASA-wide issues were addressed to multiple NASA offices or the whole agency; reports on SMD issues, to the Science Mission Directorate; and reports on ESMD issues, to the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Within NASA, SMD has been the leading sponsor of SSB reports. The “multiple government agencies” category covers reports that were directed to one or more agencies besides NASA—for example, NOAA, NSF, the Department of Energy, and/or DOD. SSB OUTREACH AND DISSEMINATION Enhancing outreach to a variety of interested communities and improving dissemination of Board reports remains a high priority for the SSB. In 2006, the SSB moved to distribution of the quarterly newsletter entirely by electronic means to its approximately 1,400 subscribers, except for a very small group of individuals (less than 10) who request hard copies. Several kinds of report announcements, fliers, and mailing list sign-up cards were designed and used at SSB committee meetings and national and international scientific society meetings. The Board teamed with other NRC units (including the Division on Earth and Life Studies, the Board on Physics and Astronomy, the National Academies Press, the Office of News and Public Information, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) to take exhibits to national meetings of the American Geophysical Union and the American Astronomical Society. Popular versions of the three decadal surveys (Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium, New Frontiers in the Solar System, and The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond) continue to be widely distributed to the science community and the general public. Over, 1,000 copies of the popularized version of the solar and space physics decadal survey, Understanding the Sun and Solar System Plasma, were distributed through the NASA-sponsored “Living with a Star” education seminar. As a consequence of these activities, roughly 3,100 additional copies SSB reports were distributed.
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 2006 FIGURE 1.2 Principal federal agency audiences for Space Studies Board reports published from 2000 through 2006. Totals are inclusive of more than one agency audience per report. Formal reports delivered to government sponsors constitute one of the primary products of the work of the SSB, but the dissemination process has a number of other important elements. The Board is always seeking ways to ensure that its work reaches the broadest possible appropriate audience and that it has the largest beneficial impact. Copies of reports are routinely provided to key executive branch officials, members and staffs of relevant congressional committees, and members of other interested NRC and federal advisory bodies. Members of the press are notified about the release of each new report, and the Board maintains a substantial mailing list for distribution of reports to members of the space research community. The SSB publishes summaries of all new reports in its quarterly newsletter. The Board also offers briefings by committee chairs and members or SSB staff to officials in Congress, the executive branch, and scientific societies. Reports are posted on the SSB Web home page at http://www7.nationalacademies.org/ssb and linked to the National Academies Press Web site for reports at http://www.nap.edu. INTERNSHIP PROGRAM The SSB has operated a very successful competitive summer internship program since 1992. The general goal of each internship is to provide a promising undergraduate student an opportunity to work in civil space research policy in the nation’s capital, under the aegis of the National Academies. Interns work with the Board, its committees, and staff on one or more of the advisory projects currently underway. Other interns, paid or unpaid, also join the Board staff on an ad hoc basis. For intern opportunities at the SSB, and a list of past SSB interns, visit the SSB Web site at http://www7.nationalacademies.org/ssb/SSB_SpacePolicyInternship.html.