7
Report of the Panel on Optical and Infrared Astronomy from the Ground

SUMMARY

The celebration of the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first use of an astronomical telescope provides a fitting context for planning new goals and directions for ground-based optical and infrared (OIR) astronomy in the 21st century. The revolutionary improvement over the unaided eye that Galileo’s telescope provided in angular resolution and sensitivity began a transformation and expansion of our knowledge of the universe that continues to this day. The OIR ground-based projects and activities recommended for the 2010-2020 decade are the next step that will open up unprecedented capabilities and opportunities, ranging from discovery in our solar system and the realms of exoplanets and black holes to understanding of the earliest objects in the universe and the foundations of the cosmos itself.

The vital science carried out by optical and infrared telescopes on Earth is at the core of the challenging astrophysics program laid out by the Astro2010 Science Frontiers Panels (SFPs). With the federal support recommended in this report by the Program Prioritization Panel on Optical and Infrared Astronomy from the Ground (the OIR Panel) for the construction of a Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope (GSMT), the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), the development of ever-more-capable and technically advanced instrumentation, and renewed strategic stewardship of the nation’s suite of telescopes, the United States will maintain a leading role in the pursuit of science that probes to the farthest corners of the known universe. With the generation of extremely large and rich data sets, the system of telescopes and facilities envisioned will continue the transformation of



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7 Report of the Panel on Optical and Infrared Astronomy from the Ground SUMMARY The celebration of the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first use of an astro- nomical telescope provides a fitting context for planning new goals and directions for ground-based optical and infrared (OIR) astronomy in the 21st century. The revolutionary improvement over the unaided eye that Galileo’s telescope provided in angular resolution and sensitivity began a transformation and expansion of our knowledge of the universe that continues to this day. The OIR ground-based proj- ects and activities recommended for the 2010-2020 decade are the next step that will open up unprecedented capabilities and opportunities, ranging from discovery in our solar system and the realms of exoplanets and black holes to understand- ing of the earliest objects in the universe and the foundations of the cosmos itself. The vital science carried out by optical and infrared telescopes on Earth is at the core of the challenging astrophysics program laid out by the Astro2010 Science Frontiers Panels (SFPs). With the federal support recommended in this report by the Program Prioritization Panel on Optical and Infrared Astronomy from the Ground (the OIR Panel) for the construction of a Giant Segmented Mirror Tele- scope (GSMT), the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), the development of ever-more-capable and technically advanced instrumentation, and renewed strate- gic stewardship of the nation’s suite of telescopes, the United States will maintain a leading role in the pursuit of science that probes to the farthest corners of the known universe. With the generation of extremely large and rich data sets, the system of telescopes and facilities envisioned will continue the transformation of 311

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Panel rePorts—new worlds, new HorIzons 312 astrophysical research. They will build on the success of programs identified by previous decadal surveys and lay the foundations for astronomical research far beyond 2020 by supporting the next generation of telescopes for which the astro- nomical community has been planning and preparing over the past two decades. This panel recommends new programs to optimize science opportunities across astronomy and astrophysics in ways that will support work at all scales: from the inspired individual to teams of hundreds of astronomers and billion-dollar projects. These recommendations combine to reinvigorate the U.S. system of OIR telescopes and facilities, heralding a new, expanded era of federal and nonfederal partnership for astronomical exploration.1 The Astro2010 survey occurs at a time of great challenge and great opportu- nity for OIR astronomy in the United States, which has led the world for the past century. In addition to the technical and intellectual challenges of OIR research, Europe, through its European Southern Observatory, is achieving parity with the United States in telescopes with apertures greater than or equal to 6 m and is poised to take a leading position with its plans for a 42-m Extremely Large Telescope proj- ect. The opportunity exists for U.S. OIR astronomy to marshal and coordinate its great resources and creativity and build on its successes and accomplishments to answer the fundamental questions posed by Astro2010. Large Projects The frontiers of astronomy and astrophysics have been advanced over the course of the 20th century, starting with the Mount Wilson 60-inch (1.5-m) tele- scope in 1908, by each decade’s suite of ever-more-capable OIR telescopes and instruments. Continuing into the 21st century, the science opportunities in the coming decade promise to be equally great, as the OIR community stands ready to build the next generation of facilities. A GSMT, with a collecting area exceeding 100 times that of the Hubble Space Telescope and with a 10-times-better angular resolution, will open up discovery space in remarkable new directions, probe dense environments within the Milky Way and in nearby galaxies, and—coupled with advanced adaptive optics (AO)— will map planetary systems around nearby stars. A GSMT’s capabilities for astrom- etry will offer an unparalleled ability to probe the kinematics of galaxies, stars, and planets at the very highest angular resolution, offering sensitivities that are, in some 1 The previous decadal survey—Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium (AANM; Na- tional Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 2001)—advocated a system perspective toward the sum of all U.S. OIR facilities in order to encourage collaborations between federally funded and independent observatories so that federal funds would be leveraged by private investment. The system today is an emerging network of public and private ground-based observatories with telescopes in the 2- to 10-m-aperture range.

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rePort Panel oPtIcal Infrared astronoMy Ground 313 of tHe on and froM tHe cases, almost 10 magnitudes better than that achievable in space in the next decade. With a suite of spectroscopic and imaging instrumentation covering the optical and near-infrared (IR) bands, GSMT will be crucial for detailed follow-up inves- tigations of discoveries from existing and planned facilities, including the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). The promise of the next decade lies also in the capability of building a telescope to conduct systematic, repeated surveys of the entire available sky to depths unob- tainable before now. Combining repeated survey images will provide composite wide-field images extending more than 10-fold fainter. Readily available synoptic data will revolutionize investigations of transient phenomena, directly addressing the key discovery area of time-domain astronomy, as well as being invaluable in surveys of regular and irregular variable sources, both galactic and extragalactic. At the same time, the combined images will provide a multi-waveband, homo- geneous, wide-field imaging data set of unparalleled sensitivity that can be used to address a wide range of high-impact scientific issues. As the 48-inch Schmidt Telescope did with respect to the 200-inch Palomar Observatory, so also will LSST play a fundamental role in detecting the most fascinating astronomical targets for follow-up observations with GSMT. Having considered proposals from the research community for new large facili- ties, the panel’s conclusions with respect to large projects are as follows: • The science cases for a 25- to 30-m Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope and for the proposed Large Synoptic Survey Telescope are even stronger today than they were a decade ago. • Based on the relative overall scientific merits of GSMT and LSST, the panel ranks GSMT higher scientifically than LSST, given the sensitivity and resolution of GSMT. • Both GSMT and LSST are technologically ready to enter their construction phases in the first half of the 2010-2020 decade. • The LSST project is in an advanced state and ready for immediate entry into the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Major Research Equipment and Facili- ties Construction (MREFC) line for the support of construction. In addition, the role of the Department of Energy (DOE) in the fabrication of the LSST camera system is well defined and ready for adoption. • LSST has complementary strengths in areal coverage and temporal sensitiv- ity, with its own distinct discovery potential. Indeed, GSMT is unlikely to achieve its full scientific potential without the synoptic surveys of LSST. Consequently, LSST plays a crucial role in the panel’s overall strategy. • GSMT is a versatile observatory that will push back today’s limits in imaging and spectroscopy to open up new possibilities for the most important scientific problems identified in the Astro2010 survey. This exceptionally broad and powerful

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Panel rePorts—new worlds, new HorIzons 314 ability over the whole range of astrophysical frontiers is the compelling argument for building GSMT. • Given the development schedules for GSMT, and in order to ensure the best science return for the U.S. public investment, it is both vital and urgent that NSF identify one U.S. project for continued support to prepare for its entry into the MREFC process. Based on these conclusions, the panel recommends the following ordered priorities for the implementation of the major initiatives that form part of the research program in optical and infrared astronomy from the ground for the 2010-2020 decade: 1. Given the panel’s top ranking of the Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope based on its scientific merit, the panel recommends that the National Science Foundation establish a process to select which one of the two U.S.-led GSMT concepts it will continue to support in preparation for entering the GSMT as soon as practicable into the MREFC line. This selection process should be completed within 1 year from the release of this panel report. 2. The panel recommends that NSF and DOE commit as soon as possible but no later than 1 year from the release of this report, to supporting the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. Because it will be several years before either GSMT project could reach the stage in the MREFC process that LSST occupies today, the panel recommends that LSST should precede GSMT into the MREFC approval process. The LSST construction should start no later than 2014 in order to maintain the project’s momentum, capture existing expertise, and provide critical synergy with GSMT. 3. The panel recommends that NSF, following completion of the necessary re- views, should commit to supporting the construction of its selected GSMT through the MREFC line at an equivalent of a 25 percent share of the total construction cost, thereby securing a significant public partnership role in one of the GSMT projects. 4. The panel recommends that in the longer term NSF should pursue the ulti- mate goal of a 50 percent public interest in GSMT capability, as articulated in the 2001 decadal survey (Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium). Reach- ing this goal will require (most likely in the decade 2021-2030) supporting one or both of the U.S.-led GSMT projects at a cost equivalent to an additional 25 percent GSMT interest for the federal government. The panel does not prescribe whether NSF’s long-term investment should be made through shared operations costs or through instrument development. Neither does the panel prescribe whether the additional investment should be made in the selected MREFC-supported GSMT in which a 25 percent partnership role is proposed already for the federal government.

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rePort Panel oPtIcal Infrared astronoMy Ground 315 of tHe on and froM tHe But the panel does recommend that, in the long run, additional support should be provided with the goal of attaining telescope access for the U.S. community cor- responding to total public access to 50 percent of the equivalent of a GSMT. Medium Projects and Activities In assembling its prioritized program, the panel became convinced of the strategic importance of the entire national OIR enterprise, including all facili- ties—public and private. The panel crafted its program to maximize the scientific return for the entire U.S. astronomical community and to maintain a leading role for OIR astronomy on the global stage. • The panel recommends as its highest-priority medium activity a new medium-scale instrumentation program in NSF’s Division of Astronomical Sci- ences (AST) that supports projects with costs between those of standard grant funding and those for the MREFC line. To foster a balanced set of resources for the astronomical community, this program should be open to proposals to build (1) instruments for existing telescopes and (2) new telescopes across all ground-based astronomical activities, including solar astronomy and radio astronomy. The pro- gram should be designed and executed within the context of, and to maximize the achievement of science priorities of, the ground-based OIR system. Proposals to the medium-scale instrumentation program should be peer reviewed. OIR examples of activities that could be proposed for the program include massively multiplexed optical/near-IR spectrographs, adaptive optics systems for existing telescopes, and solar initiatives following on from the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope. The panel recommends funding this program at a level of approximately $20 million annually. • As its second-highest-priority medium activity, the panel recommends en- hancing the support of the OIR system of telescopes by (1) increasing the funds for the Telescope System Instrumentation Program (TSIP) and (2) adding support for the small-aperture telescopes into a combined effort that will advance the capabili- ties and science priorities of the U.S. ground-based OIR system. The OIR system includes telescopes with apertures of all sizes, whereas the TSIP was established to address the needs of large telescopes. The panel recommends an increase in the TSIP budget to approximately $8 million (FY2009) annually. Additional funding for small-aperture telescopes in support of the recommendations of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) Renewing Small Telescopes for Astro- nomical Research (ReSTAR) committee (approximately $3 million per year) should augment the combined effort to a total of approximately $11 million (FY2009) to encompass all apertures. The combined effort will serve as a mechanism for co- ordinating the development of the OIR system. To be effective, the funding level

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Panel rePorts—new worlds, new HorIzons 316 and funding opportunities for this effort must be consistent from year to year. Although it is possible that the total combined resources could be administered as a single program, the implementation of such a program raises difficult issues, such as formulas for the value of resources or the need to rebuild infrastructure. The panel considers the administration of two separate programs under the um- brella of “system development” to be a simpler alternative. The expanded TSIP and the mid-scale instrumentation program both provide opportunities to direct these instrumentation funds strategically toward optimizing and balancing the U.S. telescope system. • The U.S. system of OIR telescopes currently functions as a collection of federal and nonfederal telescope resources that would benefit from collaborative planning and management—for example, to avoid unnecessary instrument du- plication between telescopes. The panel recommends that NSF ensure that such a mechanism exists, operating in close concert with the nonfederal observatories, for the management of the U.S. telescope system. The panel recommends that a high priority be given to renewing the system of ground-based OIR facilities, requiring a new strategic plan and a broadly accepted process for its implementation. Small Programs The panel concluded that initiating a tactical set of small targeted programs (each between $1 million and $3 million per year) would greatly benefit ground- based OIR science in the coming decade and would provide critical support for some of the medium and large programs. The panel recommends the small pro- grams in the following, unprioritized list: • An adaptive optics technology-development program at the $2 million to $3 million per year level; • An interferometry operations and development program at a level of ap- proximately $3 million per year; • An integrated ground-based-astronomy data-archiving program starting at a level of approximately $2 million per year and ramping down to approximately $1 million per year; and • A “strategic theory” program at the level of approximately $3 million per year. Recommendations for Adjustments to Continuing Activities The panel makes the following recommendations for continuing activities: • NSF should continue to support the National Solar Observatory (NSO) over the 2010-2020 decade to ensure that the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope

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rePort Panel oPtIcal Infrared astronoMy Ground 317 of tHe on and froM tHe (ATST) becomes fully operational. ATST operations will require a ramp-up in NSO support to supplement savings that accrue from the planned closing of current solar facilities. • Funding for NOAO facilities should continue at approximately the FY2010 level. • The governance of the international Gemini Observatory should be re- structured, in collaboration with all partners, to improve the responsiveness and accountability of the observatory to the goals and concerns of all its national user communities. As part of the restructuring negotiations, the United States should attempt to secure an additional fraction of the Gemini Observatory, including a proportional increase in the U.S. leadership role. The funding allocated for any augmentation in the U.S. share should be at most 10 percent of FY2010 U.S. Gemini spending. The United States should also seek improvements to the efficiency of Gemini operations. Efficiencies from streamlining Gemini operations, possibly achieved through a reforming of the national observatory to include NOAO and Gemini under a single operations team, should be applied to compensate for the loss of the United Kingdom from the Gemini partnership, thereby increasing the U.S. share. The United States should support the development of medium-scale, general-purpose Gemini instrumentation and upgrades at a steady level of about 10 percent of the U.S. share of operations costs. U.S. support for new large Gemini instruments (greater than approximately $20 million) should be competed against proposals for other instruments in the recommended mid-scale instrumentation program—a program aimed at meeting the needs of the overall U.S. OIR system discussed elsewhere in this panel report. • The NSF-AST grants program (Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Grants [AAG]) should be increased above the rate of inflation by approximately $40 million over the decade to enable the community to utilize the scientific ca- pabilities of the new projects and enhanced OIR system. • NSF-AST should work closely with the NSF Office of Polar Programs to ex- plore the potential for exploiting the unique characteristics of promising Antarctic sites. The above program and the funding recommendations, presented in addi- tional detail in the following sections of the panel’s report, represent a balanced program for U.S. OIR astronomy that is consistent with historical federal funding of astronomy and, more importantly, is poised to enable astronomers to answer the compelling science questions of the decade, as well as to open new windows of discovery. The proposed program involves an increased emphasis on partnerships, including NSF, DOE, NASA, U.S. federal institutions, state and private organiza- tions, and international or foreign institutions. These partnerships not only are required by the scale of the new projects, which are beyond the capacity of any one institution or even one nation to undertake, but also are motivated by the

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Panel rePorts—new worlds, new HorIzons 318 key capabilities that each of the partners brings to ensuring a dynamic scientific program throughout the decade. The revolution in human understanding that began with Galileo’s telescope 400 years ago has not slowed down or lost its momentum—in fact it is accelerating— and the panel believes that it has identified the most promising areas for future investment by the United States in optical and infrared astronomy from the ground. INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT Ground-based optical and infrared astronomy provides a fundamental basis for our knowledge of the universe at almost all astronomical scales. Moreover, OIR observations and facilities render astronomy accessible and inspirational to the general public. In the last decade, the development of new technologies has expanded our capabilities in many ways. In the time domain we are embarking on multi-epoch sky surveys, while in terms of spatial resolution ground-based tele- scopes are obtaining diffraction-limited images that surpass the angular resolution of current space telescopes. The previous (2001) decadal survey, Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium (AANM), recommended two large activities and two medium ac- tivities for OIR: a giant (30-m-class) segmented-mirror, adaptive-optics-equipped, ground-based optical-infrared telescope, now known simply as the Giant Seg- mented Mirror Telescope (GSMT), and a large-aperture (6.5-m-class), very-wide- field (~3-deg) synoptic survey telescope to achieve an unprecedented combination of sky coverage, faint limiting magnitude, and time-domain coverage. The medium activities were an Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST, called AST in AANM), support for developing the concept of treating the federally supported and independent observatories in the United States as a system, and using the system concept to increase the instrumentation capabilities and community access to U.S. OIR telescopes through a program called the Telescope System Instrumentation Program. Progress has been made on all four initiatives. ATST has just entered its MREFC-funded construction phase. TSIP has operated at a low but significant level for almost the entire decade. Projects have been formed and developed as candi- dates for GSMT and the large-aperture, very-wide-field synoptic survey telescope. The new observational capabilities introduced in the last decade fostered an exciting period of scientific discovery for OIR, fundamentally changing the way the contents and history of the universe are understood and capturing the imagination and interest of the general public. Notable examples include • Exoplanets. The discovery of a diverse set of extrasolar planets has defied many preconceived notions of the properties of other solar systems. Planet hunt-

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rePort Panel oPtIcal Infrared astronoMy Ground 319 of tHe on and froM tHe ing is now pursued with an increasingly rich variety of survey techniques (each of which can probe different kinds of systems), including increasingly sensitive radial velocities, transit timing, microlensing, and adaptive optics imaging (Figure 7.1). • Dark energy and structure formation. The discovery of the acceleration of the expansion rate of the universe has profoundly altered our view of fundamental physics. Rapidly improving measurements of the acceleration, along with a detailed view of the large-scale structure of the universe, have established the lambda cold dark matter (ΛCDM) model as the standard model of cosmology. • Galactic-center black hole. Definitive proof for the existence of a supermas- sive black hole and the first detailed kinematic look at the way black holes interact with their stellar environments have been obtained through measurements of individual stellar orbits at the galactic center (Figure 7.2) • Gamma-ray bursts. The study of optical-IR afterglows of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) has provided detailed light curves and redshifts of these events. This in turn has generated an understanding of their connection with supernovae and the birth of black holes, extending as far back as z = 8.2. • Milky Way satellite and streams. The discovery of new components, rem- nants, and companions to the Milky Way has significantly altered our picture of halo formation, the early stages of galaxy formation, and the importance of mergers (Figure 7.3). • Quasars and GRBs at first light. Quasars, powered by early supermassive black holes, have been discovered back to redshifts of 6. Observations of a z = 8.2 GRB have opened a new window for studying the deaths of massive stars when the universe was only 4 percent of its current age. The first detection of the effect of hydrogen absorption on quasar light from z = 6.4 now provides the signature of the last phases of the reionization of the universe (Figure 7.4). • Galaxies and massive black holes across cosmic time. The discovery and char- acterization of a tight (and unexpected) correlation between the mass of a super- massive black hole and the velocity dispersion of the host galaxy’s bulge has driven new ideas about the evolution of these objects. Determinations of the histories of cosmic star formation, chemical enrichment, and massive black hole accretion have provided additional input, supplemented by the discovery of a bimodal color- magnitude distribution in the galaxy population at the present epoch. • Brown dwarfs. Sky surveys have revealed hundreds of field brown dwarfs, objects that have a direct connection to the more difficult study of giant planets. This large sample has enabled the application of theoretical atmospheric models yielding a thorough understanding of their structure and composition, direct measurements of dynamical masses, and definitive elimination of brown dwarfs as dark matter candidates. • Kuiper belt objects. The discovery of objects within the solar system that are comparable to, or more massive than, Pluto has revolutionized our understanding of the constituents of the solar system.

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Panel rePorts—new worlds, new HorIzons 320 7-1 c.eps FIGURE 7.1 Top left: Exoplanet discoveries by year, color coded by discovery technique: radial velocity (blue), 2 bitmaps and a mask transit (green), timing (dark purple), astrometry (dark yellow), direct imaging (red), microlensing (orange), and pulsar timing (light purple). Top right: The first directly imaged multiple planet system (HR 8799; adaptive optics imaging in 2008). Bottom: Planetary system discovered by microlensing. SOURCE: Top left: Available at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Exoplanet_Discovery_ Methods_Bar.png#filehistory (19:35; October 3, 2010). Top right: National Research Council of Canada—Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, C. Marois and Keck Observatory. Bottom: B.S. Gaudi, D.P. Bennett, A. Udalski, A. Gould, G.W. Christie, D. Maoz, S. Dong, J. Mc- Cormick, M.K. Szymaski, P.J. Tristram, S. Nikolaev, et al., Discovery of a Jupiter/Saturn analog with gravitational microlensing, Science 319(5865):927-930, 2008, reprinted with permission of AAAS.

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rePort Panel oPtIcal Infrared astronoMy Ground 321 of tHe on and froM tHe FIGURE 7.2 Stellar orbits at the galactic center that have demonstrated the existence of a supermassive black hole and revealed the kinematic structure of surrounding stel- lar population, which is key to understanding the growth of black holes. SOURCE: Image courtesy of and created by Andrea Ghez and her research team at UCLA from data sets obtained with the W.M. Keck Telescopes. FIGURE 7.3 Discovery of Milky Way streams. SOURCE: V. Belokurov and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. • Inside the Sun. Helioseismology revealed unanticipated temperature and velocity structures just beneath sunspots, measured interior flows that constrain solar-dynamo action throughout the convection zone, and made routine the detec- tion of active regions on the far side of the Sun.

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Panel rePorts—new worlds, new HorIzons 368 RECOMMENDED PRIORITIES AND PLAN FOR THE NEXT DECADE This section presents (1) a summary of the conclusions for the activities de- scribed above in “Future Programs in OIR Astronomy”; (2) the recommended priorities; and (3) a prioritized implementation approach for the next decade for the budget guidelines provided by Astro2010. Conclusions and Recommendations for Large Programs Having considered proposals from the research community for new large facili- ties, the OIR Panel reached the following conclusions for large programs: • The science cases for a 25- to 30-m Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope and for the proposed Large Synoptic Survey Telescope are even stronger today than they were a decade ago. • Based on the relative overall scientific merits of GSMT and LSST, the panel ranks GSMT higher scientifically than LSST, given the sensitivity and resolution of GSMT. • Both GSMT and LSST are technologically ready to enter their construction phases in the first half of the 2010-2020 decade. • The LSST project is in an advanced state and ready for immediate entry into NSF’s MREFC line for the support of construction. In addition, the role of DOE in the fabrication of the LSST camera system is well defined and ready for adoption. • LSST has complementary strengths in areal coverage and temporal sensitiv- ity to GSMT, with its own distinct discovery potential. Indeed, GSMT is unlikely to achieve its full scientific potential without the synoptic surveys of LSST. Conse- quently LSST plays a crucial role in the panel’s overall strategy. • GSMT is a versatile observatory that will push back today’s limits in imaging and spectroscopy to open up new possibilities for the most important scientific problems identified in the Astro2010 survey. This exceptionally broad and powerful ability over the whole range of astrophysical frontiers is the compelling argument for building GSMT. • Given the development schedules for GSMT and in order to ensure the best science return for the U.S. public investment, it is both vital and urgent that NSF identify one U.S. project for continued support to prepare for its entry into the MREFC process. Based on these conclusions, the panel recommends the following ordered priorities for the implementation of the major initiatives that form part of its recommended OIR research program for the 2010-2020 decade:

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rePort Panel oPtIcal Infrared astronoMy Ground 369 of tHe on and froM tHe 1. Given the panel’s top ranking of the Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope based on its scientific merit, the panel recommends that the National Science Foun- dation establish a process to select which one of the two U.S.-led GSMT concepts it will continue to support in its preparation for entry as soon as practicable into the MREFC line. This selection process should be completed within 1 year from the release of this panel report. 2. The panel recommends that NSF and DOE commit as soon as possible, but no later than 1 year from the release of this report, to supporting the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. Because it will be several years before either GSMT project could reach the stage in the MREFC process that LSST occupies today, the panel recommends that LSST should precede GSMT into the MREFC approval process. The LSST construction should start no later than 2014 in order to maintain the project’s momentum, capture existing expertise, and provide critical synergy with GSMT. 3. The panel recommends that NSF, following the completion of the neces- sary reviews, should commit to supporting the construction of its selected GSMT through the MREFC line at an equivalent of a 25 percent share of the total con- struction cost, thereby securing a significant public partnership role in one of the GSMT projects. 4. The panel recommends that in the longer term NSF should pursue the ulti- mate goal of a 50 percent public interest in GSMT capability, as articulated in the 2001 decadal survey (Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium). Reach- ing this goal will require (most likely in the decade 2021-2030) supporting one or both of the U.S.-led GSMT projects at a cost equivalent to an additional 25 percent GSMT interest for the federal government. The panel does not prescribe whether NSF’s long-term investment should be made through shared operations costs or through instrument development. Neither does the panel prescribe whether the additional investment should be made in the selected MREFC-supported GSMT in which a 25 percent partnership role is proposed already for the federal government. But the panel does recommend that, in the long run, additional support should be provided with the goal of obtaining telescope access for the U.S. community corresponding to total public access of 50 percent of a GSMT. The panel has chosen not to prescribe in this report a process by which NSF could choose between the GSMT projects for a federal investment. However, the panel would expect such a process to include the setting and application of criteria by a committee of U.S. researchers (with the possible participation of non-OIR astronomers and researchers from other fields cognizant of the challenges of implementing billion-dollar-class facilities), as well as a thorough and independent assessment of cost and technical and schedule risk.

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Panel rePorts—new worlds, new HorIzons 370 Conclusions and Recommendations for Medium and Small Programs The panel concluded that mechanisms are limited or non-existent for fund- ing major instruments and projects with costs above the funding guidelines of standard programs such as the NSF AST or MRI programs but below the level of the NSF-wide MREFC. • The panel recommends as its highest-priority medium activity a new medium-scale instrumentation program in NSF’s AST that supports projects with costs between those of standard grant funding and those for the MREFC line. To foster a balanced set of resources for the astronomical community, this program should be open to proposals to build (1) instruments for existing telescopes and (2) new telescopes across all ground-based astronomical activities, including solar astronomy and radio astronomy. The program should be designed and executed within the context of, and to maximize the achievement of, science priorities of the ground-based OIR system. Proposals to the medium-scale instrumentation pro- gram should be peer reviewed. OIR examples of activities that could be proposed for the program include massively multiplexed optical/near-IR spectrographs, adaptive optics systems for existing telescopes, and solar initiatives following on from the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope. The panel recommends funding this program at a level of approximately $20 million annually. The panel concluded that the Telescope System Instrumentation Program represents a successful model for enhancing federal and nonfederal telescope fa- cilities while providing expanded public access to nonfederal facilities. The panel concluded further that TSIP, given sufficient resources, has the potential to help configure and balance the overall U.S. OIR system to maximize the efficiency of observing resources while providing instruments that will enable observations at the limits of current technology. • As its second-highest-priority medium activity, the panel recommends en- hancing the support of the OIR system of telescopes by (1) increasing the funds for the Telescope System Instrumentation Program and (2) adding support for the small-aperture telescopes into a combined effort that will advance the capabili- ties and science priorities of the U.S. ground-based OIR system. The OIR system includes telescopes with apertures of all sizes, whereas the TSIP was established to address the needs of large telescopes. The panel recommends an increase in the TSIP budget to approximately $8 million (FY2009) annually. Additional funding for small-aperture telescopes in support of the recommendations of the National Opti- cal Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) Renewing Small Telescopes for Astronomical Research (ReSTAR) committee (approximately $3 million per year) should augment the combined effort to a total of approximately $11 million (FY2009) to encompass

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rePort Panel oPtIcal Infrared astronoMy Ground 371 of tHe on and froM tHe all apertures. The combined effort will serve as a mechanism for coordinating the development of the OIR system. To be effective, the funding level and funding op- portunities for this effort must be consistent from year to year. Although it is possible that the total combined resources could be administered as a single program, the implementation of such a program raises difficult issues, such as formulas for the value of resources or the need to rebuild infrastructure. The panel considers the ad- ministration of two separate programs under the umbrella of “system development” to be a simpler alternative. The expanded TSIP and the mid-scale instrumentation program both provide opportunities to direct these instrumentation funds strategi- cally toward optimizing and balancing the U.S. telescope system. • The U.S. system of OIR telescopes currently functions as a collection of federal and nonfederal telescope resources that would benefit from collabora- tive planning and management—for example, to avoid unnecessary instrument duplication between telescopes. The panel recommends that NSF ensures that a mechanism exists, operating in close concert with the nonfederal observatories, for the management of the U.S. telescope system. The panel recommends that a high priority be given to renewing the system of ground-based OIR facilities, requiring a new strategic plan and a broadly accepted process for its implementation. The panel concluded that initiating a tactical set of small targeted programs ($1 million to $3 million per year each) would greatly benefit ground-based OIR science in the coming decade and provide critical support for some of the medium and large programs. • The panel recommends the small programs in the following, unprioritized list: —An adaptive optics technology development program at the $2 million to $3 million per year level; —An interferometry operations and development program at a level of ap- proximately $3 million per year; —An integrated ground-based-astronomy data-archiving program starting at a level of approximately $2 million per year and ramping down to approximately $1 million per year; and —A “strategic theory” program at the level of approximately $3 million per year. Recommendations for Continuing Activities The panel makes the following recommendations for continuing activities: • NSF should continue to support the National Solar Observatory (NSO) over the 2010-2020 decade to ensure that the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope

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Panel rePorts—new worlds, new HorIzons 372 (ATST) becomes fully operational. ATST operations will require a ramp-up in NSO support to supplement savings that accrue from the planned closing of current solar facilities. • Funding for NOAO facilities should continue at approximately the FY2010 level. • The governance of the international Gemini Observatory should be re- structured, in collaboration with all partners, to improve the responsiveness and accountability of the observatory to the goals and concerns of all its national user communities. As part of the restructuring negotiations, the United States should attempt to secure an additional fraction of the Gemini Observatory, including a proportional increase in the U.S. leadership role. The funding allocated for any augmentation in the U.S. share should be at most 10 percent of FY2010 U.S. Gemini spending. The United States should also seek improvements to the efficiency of Gemini operations. Efficiencies from streamlining Gemini operations, possibly achieved through a reforming of the U.S. national observatory to include NOAO and Gemini under a single operations team, should be applied to compensate for the loss of the United Kingdom from the Gemini partnership, thereby increasing the U.S. share. The United States should support the development of medium-scale, general-purpose Gemini instrumentation and upgrades at a steady level of about 10 percent of the U.S. share of operations costs. U.S. support for new large Gemini instruments (greater than approximately $20 million) should be competed against proposals for other instruments in the recommended mid-scale instrumentation program—a program aimed at meeting the needs of the overall U.S. OIR system discussed elsewhere in this panel report. • The NSF-AST grants program (Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Grants [AAG]) should be increased above the rate of inflation by approximately $40 million over the decade to enable the community to utilize the scientific ca- pabilities of the new projects and enhanced OIR system. • NSF-AST should work closely with the NSF Office of Polar Programs to explore the potential for exploiting the unique characteristics of the promising Antarctic sites. Implementation Plan The supplement at the end of this report presents an implementation plan for the panel’s recommendations for the projects and activities summarized in this section. The plan is consistent with the historical funding pattern for NSF-AST and fits within the budgetary planning guideline provided by the Astro2010 Survey Committee.

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rePort Panel oPtIcal Infrared astronoMy Ground 373 of tHe on and froM tHe SUMMARY COMMENTS In this report the panel presents a balanced program for U.S. OIR astronomy that is consistent with historical federal funding of the field. More importantly, the program recommended will enable astronomers to answer the compelling science questions that can now be formulated, and it will open new windows of discovery for the future. The two large projects recommended, GSMT and LSST, will each advance fundamentally important observing capabilities by one or two orders of magnitude beyond the present. Together, they address the core of astronomy and astrophysics, including 18 of the 20 science questions and all 5 of the discovery areas identified by the Astro2010 Science Frontiers Panels. The OIR Panel’s two medium-scale recommendations address clear gaps in the current approach and will support a range of specialized instruments and telescopes that will provide a variety of tools to address central science questions from many angles and to strengthen the overall U.S. system of OIR telescopes. The panel values the small- scale programs because they advance OIR science and provide essential support for the medium- and large-scale activities. OIR astronomy has an exceptionally complex administrative structure. The panel believes that this can be turned to advantage through an increased emphasis on partnerships that include NSF, DOE, and NASA; U.S. federal, state, and private institutions; and international partners. The scale of the new large projects demands cooperation: if this task is approached with imagination and good will, we can gain from the key capabilities that each partner brings. The revolution in human understanding that began with Galileo’s telescope 400 years ago has not slowed down or lost its momentum—in fact it is accelerating. This panel has identified the most promising areas for the United States to invest in right at the center of a thriving scientific adventure. It looks forward to the rich flow of science that will come from implementing these recommendations. SUPPLEMENT: IMPLEMENTING THE PANEL’S RECOMMENDATIONS WITHIN THE PROJECTED FUNDING CONTEXT The NSF Division of Astronomical Sciences (NSF-AST) is the federal steward and principal source of federal funding for ground-based OIR astronomy in the United States. NASA provides some support for ground-based efforts in connection with its space missions (e.g., partial support of Keck, IRTF, and interferometry). DOE is becoming an increasingly important source of funding, as the scientific interests of high-energy physics and cosmology become deeply interconnected. Here the panel concentrates on NSF funding because of its central importance to

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Panel rePorts—new worlds, new HorIzons 374 ground-based funding and because it is the primary source for most of the projects and efforts under consideration by the panel. As stated above in the section “Interagency Collaboration” at the end of the sec- tion “Future Programs in OIR Astronomy,” NSF should continue to lead the federal efforts for the OIR system and work with DOE as it becomes increasingly involved in system activities. In addition, NASA should be engaged as a full collaborator supporting construction, operation, and analysis activities of ground-based OIR facilities where such joint interchange will advance the science and programmatic objectives of both agencies. Total Costs and Schedules for Large Projects The technical, cost, and schedule risks for the large projects are described in “Large Programs” under “Future Programs in OIR Astronomy.” For ease of refer- ence, Table 7.5 provides a summary of the construction and operations costs and construction schedules provided by the individual projects and the results of the TABLE 7.5 Summary of Estimates of Construction and Operations Costs (FY2009 dollars) and Sched- ule Estimates for OIR Large Projects CATE Valuesa Project-Identified Values Operations Construction Construction Cost Cost Costs Schedule Schedule Cost Sensitivity Project Appraisal Reserve Total per Year (months) (months) Analysis 70% value $398Mb LSST $354M $102M $456M $41M 97 112 n/a $37Mc $1.1Bd GMT $563M $113M $676M 128 178 n/a $54Me 191-239f $1.4Bd TMT $760M $227M $987M 168 n/a aThe calibration data available for ground-based projects were less than those available for space-based projects; this was a limiting factor in the independent cost appraisal and technical evaluation (CATE) assessment, particularly for the two GSMT projects. The methodology is discussed in more detail in the section “Opportunities in OIR Science” of this panel report. It is important to note that this is a cost-sensitivity analysis rather than a cost appraisal, showing the effects of cost variations in key subtasks. bFor LSST, the cost appraisal was based on applying a parametric model to a level-3 work breakdown structure submitted by project personnel, including optics and facility fabrication. The cost appraisal did not examine instrument or data-handling costs, and this estimate does not include operation costs. The independent CATE assessment produced a single cost appraisal for LSST, and so no distribution is noted here. cIncludes instrument and facility upgrades of $16 million per year. dFor the two GSMTs, cost-sensitivity analysis was restricted primarily to the costs of manufacturing the optics (discussed in the section “Opportunities in OIR Science”) and the science instruments (assumed to increase by ~100 percent based on the contractor’s experience with space missions). The independent CATE assessment produced a cost-sensitivity distribution for the GSMTs, and costs at 70 percent confidence levels are given here. eIncludes instrument upgrades of $20 million per year. fRange of values reflects the independent contractor’s assessment of schedule uncertainty for fabrication of the primary mirror segments.

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rePort Panel oPtIcal Infrared astronoMy Ground 375 of tHe on and froM tHe assessment of the independent contractor. All projects explained the methodology and basis for their estimates and the basis for a reserve (contingency) amount that they included in their total. The independent CATE process utilized the informa- tion provided by the projects and its own methods and data to develop independent assessments for costs, risks, and schedules. The available calibration data for ground-based projects were less than those available for space-based projects; this was a limiting factor in the independent CATE assessment, particularly for the two GSMT projects. The independent CATE assessment also estimated schedule risk in all three projects, and these values are listed in Table 7.5. The panel concluded that both GSMT projects involve a substantial risk to cost and/or schedule that need to be carefully examined and considered as NSF executes a process to select a potential partner for public investment. It is likely that such a commitment would have to be sustained for more than a decade prior to the completion of commissioning and initial scientific utilization of a GSMT concept by the community. The panel notes and endorses the NSF procedure for obtaining detailed cost and schedule estimates as part of its Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) process. Proposed NSF Share of Large Project Costs It is important to note that none of the three large projects recommended by the OIR Panel is requesting full support from NSF. The LSST project has developed a proposed cost-sharing plan involving NSF, DOE, and other partners. GMT and TMT also have other partners, and the panel assumed NSF participation at the 25 percent level. Table 7.6 shows the proposed cost to NSF for the large projects, based on the total values shown in Table 7.5. Large Projects and MREFC Opportunities The construction costs of the GSMT and LSST projects recommended by the panel are of a scale that an NSF investment in construction will come from the agency’s MREFC program. This program supports the construction of new major TABLE 7.6 Proposed NSF Share of Costs of Construction of Large Proj- ects (FY2009 dollars) Project NSF Share Notes LSST $261 to $298M Balance from DOE and other sources GMT $169 to $250M 25% share for NSF, balance from other partners TMT $247 to $325M 25% share for NSF, balance from other partners

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Panel rePorts—new worlds, new HorIzons 376 equipment and facilities with costs that exceed the capabilities of a single NSF division and require investments on an NSF-wide basis. Both GSMT and LSST have advanced to the stage at which they can be con- sidered for construction and operations funding during the period covered by Astro2010. LSST is already placed in the final preparatory stages of the MREFC approval process. While the MREFC line offers the primary opportunity for implementing fed- eral support for these two large projects in the coming decade, there are significant factors beyond the requirements of MREFC that enter into the planning process. First, both GSMT projects will involve funding and partnering outside of NSF. GMT and TMT are established as private, nonfederal projects with international components. Second, LSST is to be a partnership with DOE and also utilizes pri- vate, nonfederal resources. Third, MREFC does not cover operating costs, which will be significant over the lifetime of the projects and will have to be covered by NSF-AST and the partners in the projects. The plans presented below account for both proposed MREFC funding and the projected operating costs to be borne by NSF-AST. The assumed total MREFC funding for GSMT and LSST combined is consistent with the inflation-adjusted MREFC funding for ALMA. LSST Funding The panel notes that the LSST project has advanced to the final design phase, which will take it to the point of readiness for construction and also prepare it for the NSF critical design review. As noted above, this panel report recommends that NSF should commit to supporting the construction of LSST, with construction starting no later than 2014 in order to maintain the project’s momentum, capture existing expertise, and achieve critical synergy with GSMT. The level of NSF support requested by the project would be $298.5 million. The Department of Energy would provide support in the form of construction of the LSST camera system, with some support coming from other sources. LSST operations costs (projected at $40 million per year) would be split evenly among NSF, DOE, and an additional partner.6 GSMT Funding The panel reaffirms the goal of the previous decadal survey, Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium, of a 50 percent public share of a GSMT. How- ever, the panel recognizes that the projected availability of public funding will re- 6 The additional partner was not identified to the panel in the documentation provided to it by the LSST project.

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rePort Panel oPtIcal Infrared astronoMy Ground 377 of tHe on and froM tHe quire a distributed investment over more than the present decade to reach that goal. The panel believes that a 50 percent public share of a GSMT is in the best interest of the nation, maximizing the scientific yield of the OIR system and GSMT itself. Below, the panel outlines one possible scenario to achieve this objective, although of course other approaches exist. Elsewhere in this report, the panel recommends that the U.S. government be- come a full partner in a GSMT project at the 25 percent level as soon as possible and that NSF should establish a process to choose which of the two U.S.-led GSMT concepts will receive a founding-member public investment. After selection, negotiations to establish U.S. participation can begin and the particular mechanisms and commitments worked out. The investment made by NSF should ensure a significant and ongoing public role in the governance and operation of the chosen telescope. The panel’s preferred mechanism is to support this participation through the MREFC process; 25 percent of a GSMT (approxi- mately $250 million in FY2009 dollars) is consistent with a typical MREFC funding envelope, and significantly below U.S. ALMA participation. NSF-AST would also support operations at a level consistent with its share (25 percent of total costs.) Alternatively, the balance between operations and construction funding could be negotiated as part of the initial buy-in. In the case of 7 percent per year AST budget growth over the decade,7 addi- tional participation, most likely in the other GSMT project, could be done through the NSF-AST budget process, providing support for instrumentation and possibly construction. This could be done either formally through a negotiated participa- tion or through a substantially expanded TSIP-like program. The goal would be a 25 percent share in observing time in the other GSMT, but without a formal governance role. Funding Profile for the 2010-2020 Decade Table 7.7 and Figure 7.19 show (as an existence proof) a representative over- all budget profile for this panel’s OIR recommendations that follows guidelines provided by the Program Subcommittee of the Astro2010 Survey Committee. The guidelines assume 3.7 percent per year growth above inflation for the NSF-AST budget for the years beyond the currently known or projected values and also take into account the continuing costs of existing AST programs such as grants, national centers, instrumentation, and special projects. The OIR plan described in Table 7.7 and Figure 7.19 is for the continuing and new funds for OIR activities that are projected to become available during the decade. 7 This level of increase is consistent with NSF-AST keeping pace with a doubling of the NSF budget.

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Panel rePorts—new worlds, new HorIzons 378 TABLE 7.7 Budget Profile for Panel’s OIR Recommendations Activities Funds for the Decade (FY2009 dollars) Large Activities Requested from MREFC; see Table 7.6 Medium Activities (in priority order) Mid-scale instruments and projects $190M TSIP and ReSTAR $106M ($76M + $30M) Small Activities (alphabetical order) Adaptive optics development program $18M Ground-based archive $14M Interferometry operations and technology development $27M Strategic theory $26M Continuing Activities NSF-AST research grants program (AAG) $490M (includes $40M increase) Gemini operations and instrumentation $250M (increases U.S. funding by 10%) NOAO operations $260M NSO ATST increase $117M (includes $26M increase to support LSST) Large Projects Operations and Additional GSMT Share (in priority order) NSF share of LSST and GSMT operations resulting $83M ($14M/year and $8M/year) from MREFC investments Additional GSMT share $97M (construction or instrumentation support to acquire additional share) LSST ops 400.0 GSMT ops Archiving 350.0 Interferometer+AODP Additional GSMT share 300.0 NSO+ATST NOAO 250.0 Gemini FY09 $M TSIP 200.0 ALMA operations NRAO 150.0 UROs NAIC 100.0 Mid-scale instruments 50.0 ATI Strategic theory 0.0 AAG FY FY FY FY FY FY FY FY FY FY FY Special Programs 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Total AST budget 7-19.eps FIGURE 7.19 Chart showing straw-man scenario for overall NSF-AST spending, assuming 3.7 percent real growth per year.