Space Studies Board

Annual Report

2013

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
                          OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.

www.nap.edu



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page R1
Space Studies Board Annual Report 2013

OCR for page R1
The Space Studies Board is a unit of the National Research Council, which serves as an independent advisor to the federal government on scientific and technical questions of national importance. The National Research Council, jointly administered by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, brings the resources of the entire scientific and technical community to bear through its volunteer advisory committees. Support for the work of the Space Studies Board and its committees was provided by National Aeronautics and Space Administration contracts NNH10CC48B and NNH11CD57B; by National Science Foundation grants AGS- 1050550, AST-1215008, and AGS-1245566; U.S. Air Force grant UAF13-0063; and by U.S. Geological Survey grant G11AP20217. Cover: The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite 13 (GOES-13) captured this natural-color im- age of Hurricane Sandy at 1:45 p.m. on October 28, 2012. NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon with data courtesy of the NASA/NOAA GOES Project Science team. Caption by Mike Carlowicz.

OCR for page R1
From the Chair Each year during my tenure as Chair of the Space Studies Board (SSB), I have written an introductory message for the board’s annual report that focuses on the challenges faced by our nation’s space science program. Not least of the challenges has been the persistent uncertainty pervading the policy and budgetary backdrop for NASA’s scientific e ­ ndeavors. In this, my last introduction to our annual report, I also want to highlight some of the progress I believe the board has made in its opera­tions and activities over the course of my tenure by pointing to some exciting developments that occurred in 2013. My remarks have two main parts. The first highlights SSB’s ongoing work with NASA and the U.S. space science community. The second part is devoted to the international dimensions of SSB’s work, because 2013 proved to be an especially eventful year in that regard. Space Science Week Following a significant effort to recast the SSB’s standing committees to be more responsive to the changing issues facing NASA space science, it was especially pleasing over the past year to see our four standing com- mittees have regular face-to-face and telephone meetings and increasingly regular consultation with the leaders of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. The highpoint in 2013 was the joint meeting of the committees on March 6-8, the first of what we hope will be an annual tradition—the National Research ­ Council (NRC) Space Science Week. All four SSB standing committees met in the recently ­estored ­ ational r N ­Academy of Sciences building on Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC, in a set of sessions that were well attended by our NASA and other federal agency colleagues. John Grunsfeld, the Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, the leaders of all four NASA science mission offices, and representatives from several other agencies—including the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin­stration i (NOAA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF)—participated in our discussions. At the meeting, our standing committees had not only an opportunity to discuss new developments in science as well as longer-range policy issues, but also—and of special interest to me—the committees organized interdisciplinary sessions, which would not have been possible unless we had convened all the standing committees at the same time in the same place. The Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA) and the Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Sci- ence (CAPS) met together to discuss the exciting discoveries of Earth-like planets by the Kepler mission. It was clear iii

OCR for page R1
to this observer that a rich, new multi-disciplinary research agenda demanding knowledge and techniques from astro- physics, planetary science, and astrobiology is emerging rapidly. Stay tuned; I hope and trust that SSB can play a con- structive role in working with NASA leadership to implement the emerging research agenda in a forward-looking way. The Committee on Solar and Space Physics (CSSP) and the Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space (CESAS) met together on a policy issue of mutual concern: how best to work with the research to operations transition with NASA’s sister agencies, NOAA and USGS. Research projects in both space physics and Earth sci- ence now develop useful applications during the conduct of the missions themselves, and it is important to ensure that the societal value of NASA research be realized as promptly as possible. CESAS also spent an entire day working with Mike Freilich, Director of NASA’s Earth Science Division, to design a potential study of “A Framework for Analyzing the Needs for Continuity of NASA-Sustained Remote Sens- ing Observations of the Earth from Space”—for which it is important to provide resilient data streams to practical and policy users as well as researchers. Our 2012 “lessons learned” workshop had reconfirmed the importance of exercising great care in designing the statements of task of our studies. For this reason, I felt this detailed discussion with a NASA manager in advance of a new study being undertaken was a particularly constructive use of standing committee time. The other standing committees also strengthened their working relations with their corresponding research divisions at NASA. The improvement in mutual understanding during a difficult time for NASA was a very important intangible outcome of the first NRC Space Science Week. For Space Science Week 2014, and hopefully on a regular basis from now on, the SSB will invite foreign col- leagues to brief our committees so that the U.S. space science community will be better informed about the prospects for international collaboration—also highlighted as a requirement at our lessons learned workshop for better decadal planning. A public lecture has also been added to the 2014 agenda. The Science Committee of the NASA Advisory Committee (NAC) is also planning on meeting in Washington, D.C., during Space Science Week, and we are planning several joint activities. The Goddard Symposium, a major event for space industry, will also take place that week. I have high hopes for Space Science Week. I hope that the whole space research community will see it as the one time when many of its leaders are together and the next year’s agenda can be debated. I hope that Space Sci- ence Week can frequently be coordinated with a Spring NAC Science Committee meeting. I hope that industries interested in space science will find it valuable to attend. I hope that individuals will choose Space Science Week as a good time to communicate with Congress and the Administration. But these hopes are in the hands of my suc- cessor, because my tenure as SSB chair reaches its term limit on June 30, 2014. Committee on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space The NRC reached an agreement in 2013 with NASA to create a new standing committee, and in Spring 2014, I expect the SSB and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) will together inaugurate the NRC’s Committee on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space. The new committee will not have much time to get its bearings, for odds are it will find itself faced with challenging issues from the get-go. Although its remit extends considerably beyond the International Space Station (ISS) science, one of the first questions it may be asked will be about the scientific implications of President Obama’s recent decision to extend the Station’s life from 2020 to 2024. Science was not the sole reason for the ultimate decision on whether to extend the life of the ISS, but it will play an important role in the success of ISS operations. The central question will be, what are the likely benefits to U.S. science and technology of the 4-year life extension? In other words, can we extrapolate from present experience and reasonable expectations what 4 years more work might achieve? How can the life extension incentivize new researchers with new ideas to take advantage of ISS access to low gravity, the space environment, and its vantage point in the heavens? How should the total of 10 years’ more operational, technological, and medical experience contribute to the goal of exploration beyond low Earth orbit? Following the release of the first-ever decadal survey in the field of microgravity research, Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era (2011), the board committed itself to put in place an NRC advisory structure that would help steward that report’s recommendations—just as the space science and Earth science decadals are stewarded by the existing four standing committees. NASA has responded constructively to our 2011 report, notably creating a new division to oversee and consoli- date the direction of low gravity research, and there has been a definite uptick in ISS scientific utilization. None- theless, it will be necessary also to feature the results achieved by the international partners, who provided more consistent support for their science programs on the ISS. iv

OCR for page R1
The establishment in 2013 of an advisory structure for NASA’s Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications Division, both within the NASA Advisory Council and at the NRC, provides two important forums for debating future station science. This debate would benefit greatly from an organized formal evaluation. Human Space Flight Study In 2013 the SSB saw the operations of the NRC’s study on human spaceflight in full swing. The 2010 NASA Authorization Act asked the NRC to review the long-term goals, core capabilities, and the direction of U.S. human spaceflight activities and to make recommendations that enable a sustainable U.S. human spaceflight program. The study committee, co-chaired by planetary scientist Jonathan Lunine and Purdue University President, Governor Mitch Daniels, was assembled by ASEB and SSB and held its first meeting in December 2012. The study has two appointed panels: the Technical Panel and the Public and Stakeholder Opinions Panel, the latter in collaboration with the NRC Committee on National Statisics. Human spaceflight involves technical, sociological, and political—even p ­ hilosophical—issues that extend beyond the remits of the SSB and ASEB. Accordingly, the study committee is drawn from the whole breadth of the National Academies’ expertise. The committee members represent an ­unusually large range of disciplines, backgrounds, and life experiences—bringing what we hope will be a unique perspective to the important charge it has been given. Over the course of 2013, the committee solicited broadly based public and stakeholder input to understand better the motivations, goals, and potential evolution of human spaceflight. The report will identify the rationale for and value of human exploration in a national and international context. It will describe high-level strategic approaches to ensuring sustainable pursuit of the national goals enabled by human space exploration, to answering enduring questions, and to delivering value to the nation. This is a most important report, perhaps the most important during my time with SSB, and I look forward with anticipation to its release in the final weeks of my watch. Dialog with the Chinese Academy of Sciences The space science community is thoroughly international, with numerous nations now capable of launching scientific payloads into space either independently or in concert with others. Burgeoning Chinese space activities have resulted in several attempts in the past decade to open a dialog between the SSB and space scientists in China. The SSB’s most recent efforts to engage the Chinese space researchers began in earnest in October 2011 when it hosted a visiting delegation from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). Building on the good will generated by the visit of the CAS delegation, the SSB sought and received support from the presidents of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine to initiate a renewed scientist-to-scientist dialog between representatives of the Board, acting on behalf of the National Academies, and the relevant divisions of the CAS. The resulting four-phase engagement activity culminated in a visit of an SSB delegation to Beijing in June 2013. Following the Beijing visit, the CAS’s National Space Science Center (NSSC) and the SSB agreed to organize the 2014 inaugural CAS-NAS Forum for New Leaders in Space Science. The NRC Presidents’ Committee has agreed to fund SSB’s share of the expenses for 2014. The forum is designed to provide opportunities for a highly select group of young space scientists from China and the United States to discuss their research activities in an intimate and collegial environment at meetings to be held in China and the United States. Participants will be ­ elected by a s committee appointed by the NSSC and SSB.The first Forum will be held in the Beijing area on May 8-9, 2014. The second forum will be held in the Los Angeles area on November 3-4, 2014. The scientific scope of both events in 2014 is limited to the general areas of space astronomy and solar and space physics. Both events will include focused presentations by young scientists interspersed with topical presentations by senior scientists and group discussions. Future forums may focus on other topics in the space sciences. COSPAR The year 2013 began on a sad note for the SSB and the space science community. The untimely death of the Robert P. Lin in the latter part of 2012 deprived the Board of one of its most distinguished members; it also deprived the United States of its representative to and vice president of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). The SSB, acting in its role as the U.S. National Committee for COSPAR, quickly nominated a new representative, my v

OCR for page R1
predecessor as SSB chair, Lennard A. Fisk. The choice was most appropriate since Len is intimately familiar with COSPAR’s inner workings because of his ongoing role as chair of COSPAR’s Scientific Advisory Committee. The past year also saw the initiation of two new COSPAR activities. The first was the successful initiation of COSPAR’s first, so-called off-year symposium. The symposia have been initiated so that a small-to-medium- sized COSPAR member can host an international gathering of space scientists without the complication and expense asso­ iated with the 30-plus parallel sessions now common at the organization’s biennial scientific assemblies. The c meeting was held in Bangkok, Thailand, on November 11-15. Its topical foci were planetary systems of the Sun and other stars, and the future of space astronomy. The second new activity was the initiation of a new cycle of nominations for leadership positions in COSPAR under revised bylaws adopted in 2012. The new rules mandate that the position of president will be determined by the members of the COSPAR Council via a postal ballot. At the close of nominations in 2013, Len Fisk was listed as a candidate for the posts of president, vice president, and a member of the COSPAR Bureau. The election will be held in 2014, and the results will be announced at the COSPAR scientific assembly in Moscow. Dialog with the European Space Sciences Committee Relations between the space science communities in the U.S. and Europe have resulted in some of the greatest scientific achievements in space science. Think of missions such as Cassini-Huygens, Hubble Space Telescope, and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, and you quickly realize the value of U.S.-European collaboration. With this in mind it is clear why we on the SSB value our close relationship with the European Space Sciences ­ ommittee— C our closest analog in Europe’s scientific community. In 2013 we benefitted from the participation of the ESSC Chair—Jean Pierre Swings—in our semi-annual board meeting. I also had the chance to participate in the ESSC’s fall meeting where we discussed our ongoing cooperation and future areas of potential focus for our two panels. Jean-Pierre will also rotate off as the ESSC Chair in 2014, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his ongoing support of a goal of my tenure, to strengthen the transatlantic ties that I believe can underpin the scientific progress made by the communities we represent. Impacts of Sequestration and Government Shutdown On March 18 and 19, SSB/ASEB Director Michael Moloney and I put in invited appearances at the 51st Annual Goddard Symposium in Greenbelt, Maryland, a “gathering of the clan” for many in NASA and industry involved with NASA space science projects. One thing made this year’s meeting notable: the impact that the s ­ o-called “­ equester” was and is continuing to have on NASA. Extreme travel restrictions dramatically limited the s attendance of NASA personnel at what is traditionally one of the more important meetings of the year for NASA; even attendance from Goddard Space Flight Center, just down the road from the conference venue, was limited. If these kinds of travel restrictions persist, NASA will continue to have difficulty convening its own scientists to get the advice and program guidance it needs—potentially becoming a profound threat to the excellence and timeliness of NASA science. In December 2012, the federal government was shut down for 16 days. The impact of the shutdown on NASA’s day-to-day operations was almost total. Ninety-seven percent of NASA’s workforce was furloughed; NASA’s web- sites were down, and researchers all over the world are unable to access NASA data. Fortunately, NASA was allowed to keep the astronauts and cosmonauts healthy and active on the International Space Station. The shutdown ended, but the loss of productivity only made it all the more difficult to sustain U.S. leadership in space, which was hard enough already given the ongoing effects of flat budgets and sequestration. Even before the paralysis took hold, NASA was slowly being deprived of oxygen as the conflict over basic political principles reached down to enervate the government’s lower levels. NASA’s leadership has to respond to the goals of the Admin­stration and Congress. But at the end of the day, people on both sides of the aisle believed that science— i space science—ought to be non-political. Despite the political uncertainty of 2013, we can hope that the budget deal for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 indicates that we can find common ground between differing political visions of what science NASA should be pursuing. Even the espousal of two scientific visions creates problems in today’s conflicted atmosphere. I continue to believe strongly that the NRC’s decadal planning process—with its imper- fections and all—remains key to ensuring continued U.S. progress and leadership in the space science and Earth science endeavors NASA supports. Following the consensus views of the scientific community, as represented in vi

OCR for page R1
these reports, will ensure programs will not change dramatically each time an election alters the dominant political philosophy. The alternative reality of shifting priorities is not good for an agency whose projects take years—often more than a decade—to bring to fruition. Acknowledgements As always, the Space Studies Board relies on the volunteer efforts of its distinguished and very busy members, and we owe them thanks. In particular, we would like to thank those members who rotated off in 2013—Betsy Cantwell, Andrew Christensen, Alan Dressler, Fiona Harrison, and Molly Macauley—and welcome the new mem- bers who joined the Board in 2013—Joseph Fuller, Jr., Neil Gehrels, Sarah Gibson, Roderick Heelis, Wes Huntress, ­ and Dava Newman. None of their volunteer efforts would amount to anything were it not for SSB’s highly profes- sional staff. As chair, I have found that the staff has given me as up-to-date and insightful view of today’s ever- changing space policy issues as I am going to get, and I thank them, not only for their hard work, but even more for the insights they bring to their work. The SSB worked fruitfully with our NASA liaison, Marc Allen, and we are appreciative that he continues to work with us despite taking on new and larger responsibilities at NASA. Finally, an excellent staff requires a visionary director: Michael Moloney is remolding the Space Studies Board to suit a complex, uncertain, and exciting future. As I reflect upon my 6 years as SSB Chair, I am more confident than ever that the Space Studies Board is central to ensuring that our nation’s pursuit of space and Earth science is second to none. I leave proud of my colleagues on the Board, grateful to SSB’s talented staff, and above all honored that I could play a small role in America’s Space Science adventure. Charles F. Kennel Chair Space Studies Board January 2014 vii

OCR for page R1

OCR for page R1
Space Studies Board Chairs and Vice Chairs SPACE STUDIES BOARD CHAIRS Lloyd V. Berkner (deceased), 1958–1962 Harry H. Hess (deceased), 1962–1969 Charles H. Townes, 1970–1973 Richard M. Goody, 1974–1976 A.G.W. Cameron (deceased), 1977–1981 Thomas M. Donahue (deceased), 1982–1988 Louis J. Lanzerotti, 1989–1994 Claude R. Canizares, 1994–2000 John H. McElroy (deceased), 2000–2003 Lennard A. Fisk, 2003–2008 Charles F. Kennel, 2008– SPACE STUDIES BOARD VICE CHAIRS George A. Paulikas, 2003–2006 A. Thomas Young, 2006–2010 John M. Klineberg, 2011– ix

OCR for page R1

OCR for page R1
Contents FROM THE CHAIR iii 1 CHARTER AND ORGANIZATION OF THE BOARD 1 The Origins of the Space Science Board, 1 The Space Studies Board Today, 2 Collaboration With Other National Research Council Units, 4 Assuring the Quality of Space Studies Board Reports, 4 Audience and Sponsors, 6 Outreach and Dissemination, 6 Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Internship, 7 2 BOARD AND STANDING COMMITTEES: ACTIVITIES AND MEMBERSHIP 8 Space Studies Board, 8 Highlights of Space Studies Board Activities, 8 Space Studies Board Membership, 9 U.S. National Committee for COSPAR, 11 Standing Committees, 12 Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science, 12 Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics, 13 Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space, 18 Committee on Solar and Space Physics, 20 Space Research Disciplines without Standing Committee Representation, 21 3 AD HOC STUDY COMMITTEES: ACTIVITIES AND MEMBERSHIP 25 Assessment of the NASA Science Mission Directorate 2014 Science Plan, 25 Continuity of NASA-Sustained Remote Sensing Observations of the Earth from Space, 26 Human Spaceflight, 27 Implementation of a Sustained Land Imaging Program, 29 xi

OCR for page R1
xii Contents 4 WORKSHOPS, SYMPOSIA, MEETINGS OF EXPERTS, AND OTHER SPECIAL PROJECTS 31 Astrobiology Roadmap:  A Meeting of Experts, 31 Lessons Learned in Decadal Planning in Space Science: A Workshop, 31  Role of High-Power, High Frequency-Band Transmitters in Advancing Ionospheric/Thermospheric Research, 32 5 SUMMARIES OF MAJOR REPORTS 34 5.1 Landsat and Beyond: Sustaining and Enhancing the Nation’s Land Imaging Program, 35 5.2 Lessons Learned in Decadal Planning in Space Science: Summary of a Workshop, 40 5.3 Opportunities for High-Power, High-Frequency Transmitters to Advance Ionospheric/ Thermospheric Research: Report of a Workshop, 42 5.4 Review of the Draft 2014 Science Mission Directorate Science Plan, 52 6 CUMULATIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY OF SSB REPORTS: 1958–2013 57