. "9 Report of the Panel on Radio, Millimeter, and Submillimeter Astronomy from the Ground." Panel Reports--New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2011.
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Panel Reports—New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics
The crucial scientific questions and themes identified today can be addressed if the necessary steps are taken to lead to the instruments of tomorrow. RMS projects of modest cost will provide insights into the origins of the first sources of light that re-ionized the universe and led to the first galaxies. With truly large-format detector arrays on single-dish telescopes, large-scale surveys for galaxies forming stars intensely will inform the origin of the cosmic order observed today. An RMS project will provide insights into fundamental processes on the Sun and use the Sun as a laboratory for understanding the role of magnetic fields in astrophysical plasmas. Upgrades of modest cost to existing RMS facilities may allow the first discovery of gravitational waves and imaging of the event horizon around a black hole. The steps taken during this decade can lead to the next great advance in future decades, a telescope capable of studying the atomic gas flows that fed galaxies back in cosmic time and capable of studying the inner parts of circumstellar disks, where Earth-like planets may be forming. With continued, robust support for studies of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), RMS science extends from the Sun to recombination and the physics of inflation.
The Panel on Radio, Millimeter, and Submillimeter Astronomy from the Ground has identified key capabilities that are needed to answer the science questions posed by the five Astro2010 Science Frontiers Panels. By comparing those key capabilities to existing capabilities, the panel identified three new projects for mid-scale funding that will provide critical capabilities. The panel further identified enhancements to existing or imminently available facilities that fulfill other requirements, and this report presents a balanced program with support for small facilities, technology development, laboratory astrophysics, theory, and algorithm development. Priorities and phasing are discussed in the panel report’s final section, “Recommendations.” Those recommendations are summarized here.
Recommended New Facilities for Mid-Scale Funding
The Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) will provide unique insight into one of the last remaining unknown eras in the history of the universe. The panel recommends continued funding of the two pathfinders (collectively HERA-I) and a review mid-decade to decide whether to build HERA-II. The panel identified specific milestones to be met by HERA-I activities. If those are met, HERA-II is the panel’s top priority in this category of recommended new facilities for mid-scale funding. HERA-I requires about $5 million per year, as is currently being spent, and HERA-II construction is estimated to cost $85 million.
The Frequency-Agile Solar Radiotelescope (FASR) will scan conditions in the chromosphere and corona across the full solar disk once a second, all day, every day. It is a vital complement to the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) and provides essential ground truth for studies of magnetic fields on other stars. The