TABLE 3.1 Relationships Among NASA’s Mission Areas and the Three Technology Objectives

NASA Mission Areas Technology Objective A: Extend and Sustain Human Activities Beyond Low Earth Orbit Technology Objective B: Explore the Evolution of the Solar System and the Potential for Life Elsewhere (In Situ Measurements) Technology Objective C: Expand Understanding of Earth and the Universe (Remote Measurements)
Planetary Science X X X
Astrophysics     X
Earth Science   X X
Heliophysics     X
Human Exploration X X Xa
Operations X X X

a If telescopes and observatories are serviceable by astronauts.

for each of the three technology objectives independently. No one technology objective area was given priority over another.

Table 3.1 relates the three technology objectives with NASA’s mission areas and illustrates the balance of using the adopted organizing framework. As mentioned previously, aeronautics was not part of the roadmap study.


With the three technology objectives defined, the steering committee evaluated the top technical challenges from the panels’ prioritized rankings for each roadmap TA01-14.2 In some cases, the steering committee combined similar challenges, particularly across roadmaps. The steering committee members began the process by voting on the highest-priority technical challenges in multiple iterations, first using a 1-10 ranking to rate their top 10 challenges for each objective, and then using a weighted scale: 0 = Not relevant; 1 = Minor importance; 3 = Significant; 9 = Essential. The steering committee then discussed any significant scoring variations by different members and the relative priority of each challenge implied by the average and mean scores of the members’ scores. This discussion continued until a final group consensus was reached on a prioritized list of the final ten technical challenges for each objective. The top 10 technical challenges for each of the three technology objectives are described below.

Top Technical Challenges for Technology Objective A:
Extend and sustain human activities beyond low Earth orbit.

A1. Improved Access to Space: Dramatically reduce the total cost and increase the reliability and safety of access to space.

A2. Space Radiation Health Effects: Improve understanding of space radiation effects on humans and develop radiation protection technologies to enable long-duration space missions.

A3. Long-Duration Health Effects: Minimize the crew health effects of long-duration space missions (other than space radiation).

A4. Long-Duration ECLSS: Achieve reliable, closed-loop environmental control and life support systems (ECLSS) to enable long-duration human missions beyond low Earth orbit.


2See the sections titled “Top Technical Challenges” in Appendixes D-Q for the panels’ prioritized technical challenge rankings

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