port for GSMT operations and ACTA collaboration both would be delayed until funding becomes available.
If the realized budget is truly flat in FY2010 dollars, the implication is that, given the obligation to provide operational costs for the forthcoming ALMA and ATST, there is no possibility of implementing any of the recommended program this decade—without achieving significant savings through enacting the recommendations of the first 2006 senior review process and/or implementing a second more drastic senior review before mid-decade. Because the termination of programs takes time to implement in practice, it will be difficult to accrue significant new savings before the end of the decade. Thus, in practice, very few new activities could be started within NSF-AST.
A program fitted under the DOE budget doubling scenario means that roughly $40 million per year would be available by the end of the decade, after due allowance for an underground dark matter detection program as recommended by HEPAP-PASAG. As indicated by the example shown in Figure 7.14, this amount will be sufficient to allow participation in LSST, WFIRST, and ACTA as well as some of the smaller astrophysical initiatives recommended by HEPAP-PASAG under Scenario C. In addition, a $2 million per year Theory and Computation Networks program is recommended.
However, if the budget is lower, the HEPAP-PASAG recommended investment in dark matter detection will be reduced and the available funds will decrease to $15 million under Scenario A. DOE is a minor partner in the two largest projects that the survey committee has recommended—LSST and WFIRST—and it is likely that the phasing will involve choices by NSF and NASA, respectively. Other considerations being equal, the recommended priority order is to collaborate first on LSST because DOE will have a larger fractional participation in that project, and its technical contribution is thought to be relatively more critical. ACTA, Theory and Computation Networks, and the smaller initiatives have lower priority.
This is an extraordinary time in astronomy. The scientific opportunities are without precedent—finding and characterizing other planets like Earth, tracing the history of the cosmos from the time of inflation to our own galaxy and solar system today, detecting the collisions of black holes across the universe, and testing the implications of Einstein’s theories a century after they were formulated. The tools are becoming available to make giant strides toward deciphering the mysteries of the two primary components of the cosmos—dark energy and dark matter—and