Each Science Frontiers Panel provided its inputs to the survey committee in the Spring of 2009 and completed its panel report thereafter. The SFP reports are provided in the second volume of the decadal survey, along with the reports of the Program Prioritization Panels.1

The five SFPs and their scientific scopes were as follows:

  • Panel on Cosmology and Fundamental Physics (CFP). The CFP scope encompassed cosmology and fundamental physics, including the early universe, the microwave background, the reionization and galaxy formation up to virialization of protogalaxies, large-scale structure, the intergalactic medium, the determination of cosmological parameters, dark matter, dark energy, tests of gravity, astronomically determined physical constants, and high-energy physics using astronomical messengers.

  • Panel on the Galactic Neighborhood (GAN). The GAN scope encompassed the galactic neighborhood, including the structure and properties of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, and their stellar populations and evolution, as well as interstellar media and star clusters.

  • Panel on Galaxies Across Cosmic Time (GCT). The GCT scope encompassed galaxies across cosmic time, including the formation, evolution, and global properties of galaxies and galaxy clusters, as well as active galactic nuclei and quasistellar objects, mergers, star-formation rate, gas accretion, and supermassive black holes.

  • Panel on Planetary Systems and Star Formation (PSF). The PSF scope encompassed planetary systems and star formation, including solar system bodies (other than the Sun) and extrasolar planets, debris disks, exobiology, the formation of individual stars, protostellar and protoplanetary disks, molecular clouds and the cold interstellar medium, dust, and astrochemistry.

  • Panel on Stars and Stellar Evolution (SSE). The SSE scope encompassed stars and stellar evolution, including the Sun as a star, stellar astrophysics, the structure and evolution of single and multiple stars, compact objects, supernovae, gammaray bursts, solar neutrinos, and extreme physics on stellar scales.

Table A.1 shows the final science questions and areas of discovery potential as described in the SFP reports.


National Research Council, Panel Reports—New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2011.

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