and workshop to be held in spring 2010. An important role of the panels will be to solicit broad input from the research community about issues of scientific and programmatic priorities in the field.
The work of the study subpanels will not result in separate, independent reports; subpanel conclusions and recommendations will be considered by the committee and used to prepare a single final report.
It is essential that the study activity solicit and aggregate inputs from across the solar and space physics community and the country via town hall meetings, sessions at geographically dispersed professional meetings, solicitation of white papers, and aggressive use of electronic communications and networks. The committee may also convene focused workshops on special topics of interest, such as how to better accomplish the transition from research to operations or the potential for small satellites to advance space science and address ongoing issues related to workforce and training.
It is critically important that the recommendations included in the final report be achievable within the boundaries of anticipated funding. To that end, it is anticipated that NASA and NSF will provide an up-to-date understanding of these limitations at the time of survey initiation. In designing and pricing the study, the NRC will include resources for independent, expert cost analysis support, which will be used when appropriate to improve cost estimations, expose and bound uncertainties, and facilitate cost comparisons among missions with varying heritage and technical maturity.
In addition to a review of the current state of scientific knowledge and recommendations for future directions to advance our understanding, implementation recommendations are sought for NASA and NSF. These three central tasks are described below.
A. Scientific Assessment and Recommendations
The report should provide a clear exposition of the following:
• An overview of heliophysics science—what it is, why it is a compelling undertaking, the relationship between space- and ground-based science research; and its connections to other areas of scientific inquiry, for example, fundamental processes in astrophysical plasmas; another connection is with basic plasma physics;
• A broad survey of the current state of knowledge; and
• An inventory of the top-level scientific questions, prioritized by value, urgency, and technical readiness, that should guide NASA flight mission selections and supporting research programs and NSF’s primarily ground-based investigations and supporting research programs.
In order to ensure consistency with other advice developed by the NRC, specific guidelines for the scientific scope of the survey are as follows:
• 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); and
• Basic or supporting ground-based laboratory and theoretical research in solar and space physics are within scope, except those covered by the ongoing astrophysics decadal survey.
B. Implementation Recommendations for NASA
As was done in the previous heliophysics decadal survey, the section of the report that provides recommendations to NASA will reflect the agency’s charter to conduct flight mission investigations and, consistent