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New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics
FIGURE 5.8 Number of Ph.D.s awarded per year to individuals trained in sounding rocket programs, 1961 to 2008. SOURCE: NASA Astrophysics Sounding Rocket Assessment Team.
included significant instrumentation efforts centered at universities, and their development timescales are suitably short, compared with those of flagship missions, so as to match graduate student and postdoctoral fellow terms of study.
NSF Mid-Scale Innovation Program
The cost of major new instruments and facilities has increased significantly over the past 20 years, to some extent reflecting increasing scale and complexity. For example, instruments for 8- to 10-meter-class ground-based telescopes are necessarily larger and hence more costly than those for smaller telescopes. Similarly, large focal plane arrays for radio telescopes are more costly than the previous generation of non-multiplexed receivers. In addition, providing a significant enhancement over current capabilities requires applying new and more expensive technology such as adaptive optics systems in the optical or complex correlator systems in the radio. Finally, as data output increases to many terabytes, data management and software complexity add to instrument and facility costs.
Within NSF, grants programs such as Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Grants, Advanced Technologies and Instrumentation, and Major Research Instrumentation provide funding for training young people in instrumentation and telescope design, data analysis, and data interpretation, and such training has been funded relatively steadily over the past decade (Table 5.3). NSF grants typically involve a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow who is learning about instrumen-