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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 2009 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, 3 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 SSB 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 (USGS), and the Department of Defense, as well as to Congress. The fundamental charter of the Board today remains that defined by NAS president Detlev W. Bronk in a letter to Lloyd V. Berkner, first chair of the Board, on June 26, 1958, which established the Space Science Board: 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 SSB exists to provide an independent, authoritative forum for information and advice on all aspects of space science and applications, and it serves as the focal point within the National Academies for activities on space research. It oversees advisory studies and program assess-
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 2009 ments, 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. 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 14 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 2010. 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 2009, there were 23 Board members. The chairs of the SSB’s standing committees are members of the Board, and of its Executive Committee (XCOM). 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 2009 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 SSB, 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 (BPA).) A decadal survey on biological and physical sciences in space, a joint effort with the ASEB, was formed in 2009 in response to a congressional request for a study to establish priorities and provide recommendations for life and physical sciences space research, including research that will enable exploration missions in microgravity and partial gravity for the 2010-2020 decade. 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. The workshop originally planned for 2009 was rescheduled for November 2010. It was the opinion of the planning committee that inadequate time was available to organize a workshop on the selected theme that would be the desired caliber.
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 2009 FIGURE 1.1 Organization of the Space Studies Board, its standing committees, ad hoc study committees, and workshops, and special projects in 2009. Shaded boxes denote activities performed in cooperation with other National Research Council units. 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 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 ESSC, which is part of the European Science Foundation (see http://www.esf.org/). Space Studies Board Committees Executive Committee The Executive Committee, 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.
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 2009 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. Standing committees typically go on hiatus during their discipline’s decadal survey. In 2009, SSB had five standing committees: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA), Committee on Earth Studies (CES), Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life (COEL), Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX), and Committee on Solar and Space Physics (CSSP). 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. In other cases, workshops are organized by ad hoc study committees that serve as organizers only, where a 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 2009 are summarized in Chapter 3. COLLABORATION WITH OTHER NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL UNITS Much of the work of the SSB 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 SSB has engaged in many such multi-unit collaborations. Among the NRC boards with which the SSB works most often are the ASEB, the BPA, 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 2009 are illustrated in Figure 1.1. ASSURING THE QUALITY OF SSB REPORTS A major contributor to the quality of the SSB reports (Table 1.1 lists the 2009 releases) is the requirement that NRC reports be peer reviewed. Except for the Space Studies Board Annual Report—2008, all of the reports were subjected to extensive peer review, which is overseen by the NRC’s Report Review Committee (RRC). Typically 7 to 10 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
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 2009 TABLE 1.1 Space Studies Board Reports Released in 2009 Report Title Sponsors Oversight Committee or Boarda Principal Audiencesb NASA/SMD NASA/ESMD NOAA NSF Other Approaches to Future Space Cooperation and Competition in a Globalizing World: Summary of a Workshop NASA SSB X X America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs NAS internal funds SSB X X X X Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Mars Sample Return Missions NASA COEL X An Enabling Foundation for NASA’s Space and Earth Science Missions [Prepublication] NASA SSB X Congress Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies: Interim Report NASA COMPLEX X X Congress A Performance Assessment of NASA’s Heliophysics Program NASA CSSP X X X Congress Radioisotope Power Systems: An Imperative for Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Space Exploration NASA SSB/ASEB X X DOE Congress Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report. Extended Summary NASA SSB X X X X Space Studies Board Annual Report—2008 NASA SSB X X X X DOE USGS Uncertainty Management in Remote Sensing of Climate Data: Summary of a Workshop NASA, NSF BASC X X NOTE: NAS, National Academy of Sciences; NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; NSF, National Science Foundation. aOversight committee or board within the National Research Council CES Committee on Earth Studies COMPLEX Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration CSSP Committee on Solar and Space Physics SSB Space Studies Board bPrincipal audiences: Federal agencies that have funded or shown interest in SSB reports. DOE Department of Energy NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA/ESMD NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate NASA/SMD NASA Science Mission Directorate NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NSF National Science Foundation USGS U.S. Geological Survey 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 arbiter (called a monitor) who is knowledgeable about the report’s issues. In some cases, there is a second independent arbiter (called a coordinator) who has a broader perspective on policy issues affecting the National Academies. 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.
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 2009 Another important method to ensure high-quality work derives from the size, breadth, and depth of the cadre of experts who serve on the SSB and its committees or participate in other ways in the activities of the SSB. Some highlights of the demographics of the SSB in 2009 are presented in Tables 1.2 and 1.3. During 2009, a total of 349 individuals from 87 colleges and universities and 57 other public or private organizations served as formally appointed members of the Board and its committees. More than 600 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 2009, 52 different external reviewers contributed to critiques of draft reports. Overall, more than 1,000 individuals from 146 academic institutions, 124 industry or nonprofit organizations, and 45 government agencies or offices participated in SSB activities. That number included 37 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. TABLE 1.2 Experts Involved in the Space Studies Board and Its Subunits, January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2009 Number of Board and Committee Members Number of Institutions or Agencies Represented Academia 199 74 Government and national facilities 37 14 Private industry 51 30 Nonprofit and othera 62 27 Totalb,c 349 145 aOther includes foreign institutions and entities not classified elsewhere. bIncludes 37 National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine members. cIncludes 29 Board members, 314 committee members. TABLE 1.3 Summary of Participation in Space Studies Board Activities, January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2009 Academia Government and National Facilitiesa Private Industry Nonprofit and Other Total Individuals Board/committee members 199 37 51 62 349 Guest experts 196 167 45 138 546 Reviewers 32 3 4 13 52 Workshop participants 19 42 26 27 114 Total 446 249 126 240 1,061 NOTE: Counts of individuals are approximate due to possible miscategorization. aOther includes foreign institutions and entities not classified elsewhere. Total number of NAS, NAE, and/or IOM members 53 Total number of non-U.S. participants 11 Total number of countries represented, including United States 8 Total number of different institutions represented Academia 146 Government and national facilities 45 Industry 50 Nonprofit and other 74
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 2009 AUDIENCE AND SPONSORS The Space Studies Board’s efforts have been relevant to a full range of government audiences in civilian space research—including NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD), NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD), NASA’s Program Analysis and Evaluation Office, NSF, NOAA, USGS, and the Department of Energy (DOE). Reports on NASA-wide issues were addressed to multiple NASA offices or the whole agency; reports on science issues, to SMD; and reports on exploration systems issues, to ESMD. Within NASA, SMD has been the leading sponsor of SSB reports. Reports have also been sponsored by or of interest to agencies besides NASA—for example, NOAA, NSF, DOE, and the USGS. OUTREACH AND DISSEMINATION Enhancing outreach to a variety of interested communities and improving dissemination of SSB reports is a high priority. In 2009, the SSB continued to distribute its quarterly newsletter by electronic means to subscribers. The Board teamed with other NRC units (including the Division on Earth and Life Studies, the BPA, 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 four of the decadal surveys (Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium, New Frontiers in the Solar System, The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond, and Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond) continue to be widely distributed to the science community and the general public. Over 2,000 reports were disseminated in addition to the copies distributed to study committee members, the Board, and sponsors. 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 SSB 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 SSB 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. LLOYD V. BERKNER SPACE POLICY INTERNSHIP The Space Studies Board has operated a very successful competitive summer internship program since 1992. The Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Internship is named after Dr. Berkner, the Board’s first chair, who played an instrumental role in creating and promoting the International Geophysical Year, a global effort that made it possible for scientists from around the world to coordinate observations of various geophysical phenomena. 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 SSB 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://sites.nationalacademies.org/SSB/ssb_052239.