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.
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.
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.