• Develop joint working groups.

• Encourage through solicitations the development of joint proposal efforts.

As an example of the third strategy, NASA Advanced Life Support representatives participate annually with the International Advanced Life Support Working Group. Members include personnel from NASA Headquarters, Johnson Space Center, Kennedy Space Center, and Ames Research Center. Other participating agencies include ESA, JAXA, the Russian Institute of Biophysics, and the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems. Through fellowships sponsored by the Japanese Society for Promotion of Science, a number of visits and collaborations were facilitated between NASA and Japanese scientists.

As an example of the fourth strategy, the Space-Time Asymmetry Research (STAR) project, a jointly proposed concept by the NASA Ames Research Center, Stanford University, and international partners from Saudi Arabia, Germany, and the United Kingdom, will test isotropy and symmetry of space-time at unprecedented precision. The STAR program is predicated upon building a series of focused, small-satellite missions. STAR will take an incremental mission approach, flying instruments with progressively increased precision and measurement scope in each of five flights. The program is designed specifically to attract extensive research participation and leadership by university students. STAR will challenge curious, young minds and train the next generation of space scientists and engineers.


Currently, life and physical science endeavors focused on understanding phenomena in low-gravity environments have no clear institutional home at NASA. As determined by the committee from an examination of the highly varied history of these programs and as discussed in the final report of the Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee (also known as the Augustine Commission or Augustine Committee),30 administratively embedding crucial forward-looking elements (such as the Life and Physical Sciences Research program) in larger or operationally focused organizations virtually guarantees that the resources for such elements will be depleted by other needs.

This chapter has focused on the essential needs for a successful renewed research endeavor in life and physical sciences. In the context of a programmatic home for an integrated research agenda, program leadership and execution are likely to be productive only if aggregated under a single management structure and housed in a NASA directorate or key organization that understands both the value of science and its potential application in future exploration missions.


• Leadership with both true scientific gravitas and a sufficiently high level in the overall organizational structure at NASA is needed to ensure that there will be a “voice at the table” when the agency engages in difficult deliberations about prioritizing resources and engaging in new activities.

• The successful renewal of a life and physical sciences research program will depend on strong leadership with a unique authority over a dedicated and enduring research funding stream.

• It is important that the positioning of leadership within the agency allows both the conduct of the necessary research programs as well as interactions, integration, and influence within the mission-planning elements that develop new exploration options.


The committee recognized that the withdrawal of NASA support of life and physical sciences research over the past decade occurred for multiple reasons, many of which were unavoidable. Now that the assembly of the ISS is complete, it is time for NASA to turn to its goal of re-establishing support for life and physical sciences research. Building a “new” NASA Life and Physical Sciences Research Program will pose great challenges but will

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