•   The consequences of solar variability on the atmospheres and surfaces of other bodies in the solar system, and the physics associated with the magnetospheres, ionospheres, thermospheres, mesospheres, and upper atmospheres of the Earth and other solar system bodies.

In order to ensure consistency with other advice developed by the NRC for NASA, the following additional scope guidance is provided:

•   With the exception of interactions with the atmospheres and magnetospheres of solar system bodies, which are within scope, planetary phenomena are out of scope (these other topics are being addressed by an ongoing decadal survey in planetary science);

•   Basic or supporting ground-based laboratory and theoretical research in solar and space physics are within scope, noting that the findings and recommendations in the present survey should be harmonized with those developed and reported by the ongoing astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey; and

•   Consistent with the current astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey, recommendations related to ground-based implementations (e.g., ground-based solar observatories) will be directed to the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Without undertaking a detailed analysis of operational space weather user or provider requirements, the survey committee will describe the value of these services to society and examine the role of NASA and NSF research in underpinning and improving these services.

In addition to an integrated review of the current state of scientific knowledge and recommendations for future basic research directions to advance our understanding, the survey will provide implementation recommendations separately for NASA and NSF.

For each science target, the committee will establish criteria on which its recommendations depend and identify developments of sufficient significance that they would warrant an NRC reexamination of the committee’s recommendations. The committee will also make recommendations to the agencies on how to rebalance programs within budgetary scenarios upon failure of one or more of the criteria.


General Approach

The decadal survey will focus on the research aspects of the broad range of solar and space physics (within NASA, referred to as “heliophysics”). As such, it will address primarily the responsibilities of NASA and NSF and will provide recommendations to these two agencies. However, the survey will also address issues of particular interest to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Defense, including the current state of capabilities and future directions in space weather monitoring and operations. We note that basic research and derived applications share a common knowledge base and community of experts and practitioners.

The Space Studies Board, working through its Committee on Solar and Space Physics, will establish a survey steering committee (“committee”) of approximately 16 members. The committee will be responsible for the overall organization and execution of the new study, as well as the production of a final consensus report that will undergo the usual NRC review processes. The final report will represent a comprehensive and authoritative analysis of the subject domain and a broad consensus among research community stakeholders. To do so, it is anticipated that the committee will utilize approximately five specialized study subpanels, with allocation of the domain of study among them to be determined by the committee and the Space Studies Board. The specific structure of the survey will be determined following a planning meeting

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