complementarity that has turned out to be crucial. For example, astronomers collectively understand about building telescopes, crafting practical observing programs, and launching spacecraft, while physicists have contributed unique capabilities in detectors, electronics, and data handling.
Future progress will be enabled by DOE’s current support for development of the Joint Dark Energy Mission (JDEM) in space, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) camera, and CMB science efforts. The committee recommends in Chapter 7 continuing steps consistent with the DOE mission that take advantage of present day physics-astrophysics science synergies.
Based on the recommendations of the 2001 decadal survey, AANM,7 beyond that for James Webb Space Telescope, NASA is currently supporting development of a Space Interferometry Mission (SIM) and technology for a future Terrestrial Planet Finder. Following publication of a 2003 NRC report8 there has also been significant activity toward JDEM in possible partnership with DOE and/or ESA.
The sustained success of NASA’s astrophysics program rests on its effective leveraging of activities ranging from large flagship missions to smaller more focused Explorer missions, down to the suborbital, data analysis, theory, technology development, and laboratory astrophysics programs. This diversified portfolio maximizes scientific exploitation of the missions, paves the way toward future missions, and maintains and develops the expertise that will enable the United States to keep its world leadership in space astronomy. Prudent investment in the core supporting activities also has proven to minimize risk and reduce the end-to-end costs of major missions, by addressing critical design issues before missions enter their construction phases.
In the course of formulating recommendations that include large, medium, and small missions, as well as targeted augmentations to some of the core supporting activities, the committee considered broader issues of balance between a range of elements across the NASA program: between larger and smaller missions; between NASA-led and international-partner-led missions; between university-led and NASA-center-led missions; between mission-enabling and mission-supporting activities (technology development, Suborbital program, theory, ground-based observing) and the missions themselves; between mission construction/operation and data archiving and analysis; and between extended mission support for operating