National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Washington, DC 20546-0001

NOV 15 2007

Reply to Attn of: Science Mission Directorate

Dr. Lennard A. Fisk


Space Studies Board

National Research Council

500 5th Street, NW Washington, DC 20001


The NASA Authorization Act of 2005 established a requirement for rolling annual assessments of NASA’s science programs. The two principal components of this new oversight requirement are National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reviews and reports by the NASA Administrator to the House Committee on Science and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on findings of these and any other timely reviews of the programs in question and planned actions to be taken in response to these reviews. It has been NASA’s plan to phase these reports and the underlying NAS assessments in the order in which the most recent Academy science program decadal surveys have been delivered to NASA.

The first two reviews in this series address NASA’s astrophysics and planetary science programs, with the latter now nearing completion. According to our plan, the third of these congressionally required reports would cover the field of heliophysics. We anticipate that the primary recommendations against which NASA’s performance should be evaluated would be those provided in the relevant NAS decadal survey, The Sun to the Earth-and Beyond, (2002). In order to support development of NASA’s report to the Committees, I would like to request that the National Research Council (NRC) conduct a review that will assess the following:

  • How well NASA’s current program addresses the strategies, goals, and priorities outlined in the heliophysics decadal survey and other relevant Academy reports;

  • Progress toward realizing these strategies, goals and priorities; and

  • Any actions that could be taken to optimize the science value of the program in the context of current and forecasted resources available to it.

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