science community are our most valuable asset. The U.S. scientific and industrial population may receive less support in some areas than its international competitors, but it does not suffer from lack of imagination. Core support for individual investigators is the best way to ensure that the diversity of ideas and approaches that are at the root of American inventiveness remains a strong feature of the U.S. effort.
RECOMMENDATION 3. The newest tools for data acquisition need to be made available for use in earth science research. Advanced instrumentation is urgently needed for experiment and analysis in the laboratory and for deployment in space (on satellites), at sea (on research vessels and on the sea bottom), in aircraft, and on land (in networks and in boreholes and movable arrays).
RECOMMENDATION 4. Opportunities for the integration and use of observations and measurements from advanced space-borne instruments in solid-earth geophysics and geology should continue to be made available. The opportunity for increased understanding of the continents using an integrated approach with remote sensing, field, laboratory, and other data (e.g., seismic) is extraordinary. Remote sensing data should be incorporated and used as a standard field geology tool, throughout the undergraduate curriculum and especially in field geology courses. At the graduate level, research should address geological problems aided by remote sensing methods rather than consider remote sensing as a separate discipline.
RECOMMENDATION 5. There is an essential need for the production and availability of interactive data banks on a national level within the earth sciences. With new methods of digital acquisition, handling, and archiving, and with the growth in the use of geographic information systems along with the Global Positioning System, there are major opportunities to apply the computer revolution to the solid-earth sciences. It is time to integrate the vast amounts of solid-earth science data in nondigital form, like maps, with the exponentially growing digital data sets. National coordination of data-handling services, retrieval procedures, networking, and dissemination practices is required to improve access to the wealth of data held by government, industrial, and academic organizations. This will ensure its best use in understanding the Earth, in sustaining resources, in mitigating impacts of hazards, and in adjusting to environmental change.
RECOMMENDATION 6. Efforts need to be made to expand earth science education to all. Citizens need to understand the earth system to make responsible decisions about use of its resources, avoidance of natural hazards, and maintenance of the Earth as a habitat. School systems must respond to this need. At the university level, curricula should be adjusted to meet the needs of contemporary society while maintaining excellence at the professional level.
RECOMMENDATION 7. Research partnerships involving industry-academia-government are encouraged to maximize our understanding of the Earth. Cooperative multidisciplinary investigations that pool intellectual resources residing in government, academic, and industrial sectors can produce more comprehensive research efforts. The primary objectives of governmental, industrial, and academic groups are diverse. The breadth of disciplines that collectively exist within groups spans our science, but each has its own primary research objectives. Each sector has much expertise to offer that would make it possible to capitalize on the complementary nature of collaboration. The solid-earth sciences stand to gain immeasurably if these three major research communities establish forward-looking cooperative programs.
RECOMMENDATION 8. Increased U.S. involvement in international cooperative projects in the solid-earth sciences and data exchange are essential. Increased understanding of the Earth as a system requires that regional problems be looked at from an international perspective. Cooperative programs involving both nongovernmental international science programs and individuals should be strengthened. Groups involved in U.S. foreign policy decisions should be aware of the importance of the earth sciences in global agreements about issues such as waste management, acid rain, hazard reduction, energy and mineral resources, and desertification. New linkages between the West, the former Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe present a timely opportunity for U.S. scientists to join with scientists from those countries in data collection and data sharing to increase knowledge of earth systems. Such cooperation with other countries also can be an important tool in U.S. foreign policy.