The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
Capabilities for the Future: An Assessment of NASA Laboratories for Basic Research
and often lack the modern layouts and utilities that improve operational efficiency. The lack oftimely maintenance can lead to safety issues, particularly with large, high-powered equipment. Anotable exception is the new science building commissioned at Goddard Space Flight Center in2009.
Recommendation 2A. NASA should find a solution to its deferred maintenance issues beforecatastrophic failures occur that will seriously impact missions and research operations.
Recommendation 2B. To optimize limited maintenance resources, NASA should implementpredictive-equipment-failure processes, often known as health monitoring, currently used by manyorganizations.
Finding 3. Over the past 5 years or more, the funding of fundamental research at NASA, includingthe funding of facilities and equipment, has declined dramatically, such that unless correctiveaction is taken soon, the fundamental research community at NASA will be unable to support theagency’s long-term goals. For example, if funding continues to decline, NASA may not be able toclaim aeronautics technology leadership from an international and in some areas even a nationalperspective.
Recommendation 3A. To restore the health of the fundamental research laboratories, includingtheir equipment, facilities, and support services, NASA should restore a better funding andleadership balance between long-term fundamental research/technology development and short-term mission-focused applications.
Recommendation 3B. NASA must increase resources to its aeronautics laboratories and facilities toattract and retain the best and brightest researchers and to remain at least on a par withinternational aeronautical research organizations in Europe and Asia.
Finding 4. Based on the experience and expertise of its members, the committee believes that theequipment and facilities at NASA’s basic research laboratories are inferior to those at comparableDOE laboratories, top-tier U.S. universities, and corporate research laboratories and are about thesame as those at basic research laboratories of DOD.
Recommendation 4. NASA should improve the quality and equipping of its basic researchfacilities, to make them at least as good as those at top-tier universities, corporate laboratories, andother better-equipped government laboratories in order to maintain U.S. leadership in the space,Earth, and aeronautic sciences and to attract the scientists and engineers needed for the future.