Supporting Research and Data Analysis in NASA's Science Programs

Engines for Innovation and Synthesis

Task Group on Research and Analysis Programs

Space Studies Board

Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications

National Research Council


NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1998



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Supporting Research and Data Analysis in NASA's Science Programs: Engines for Innovation and Synthesis Supporting Research and Data Analysis in NASA's Science Programs Engines for Innovation and Synthesis Task Group on Research and Analysis Programs Space Studies Board Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1998

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Supporting Research and Data Analysis in NASA's Science Programs: Engines for Innovation and Synthesis NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the task group responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Support for this project was provided by Contract NASW 96013 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-06275-6 Copyright 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Copies of this report are available from: Space Studies Board National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Printed in the United States of America

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Supporting Research and Data Analysis in NASA's Science Programs: Engines for Innovation and Synthesis TASK GROUP ON RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS PROGRAMS ANTHONY W. ENGLAND, University of Michigan, Chair JAMES G. ANDERSON, Harvard University MAGNUS HÖÖK, Texas A&M University JURI MATISOO, IBM Research (retired) ROBERTA BALSTAD MILLER, CIESIN-Columbia University DOUGLAS D. OSHEROFF, Stanford University CHRISTOPHER T. RUSSELL, University of California at Los Angeles STEVEN W. SQUYRES, Cornell University PAUL G. STEFFES, Georgia Institute of Technology JUNE M. THORMODSGARD, U.S. Geological Survey EUGENE H. TRINH, Jet Propulsion Laboratory ARTHUR B.C. WALKER, JR., Stanford University PATRICK JOHN WEBBER, Michigan State University PAMELA L. WHITNEY, Study Director RONALD M. KONKEL, Consultant ANNE K. SIMMONS, Senior Program Assistant

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Supporting Research and Data Analysis in NASA's Science Programs: Engines for Innovation and Synthesis SPACE STUDIES BOARD CLAUDE R. CANIZARES, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chair MARK R. ABBOTT, Oregon State University FRAN BAGENAL, University of Colorado at Boulder JAMES P. BAGIAN,* Environmental Protection Agency DANIEL N. BAKER, University of Colorado at Boulder LAWRENCE BOGORAD,* Harvard University DONALD E. BROWNLEE,* University of Washington ROBERT E. CLELAND, University of Washington JOHN J. DONEGAN,* John Donegan Associates, Inc. GERARD W. ELVERUM, JR., TRW Space and Technology Group (retired) ANTHONY W. ENGLAND,* University of Michigan MARILYN L. FOGEL, Carnegie Institution of Washington MARTIN E. GLICKSMAN,* Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute RONALD GREELEY, Arizona State University BILL GREEN, former member, U.S. House of Representatives CHRISTIAN JOHANNSEN, Purdue University ANDREW H. KNOLL, Harvard University JANET G. LUHMANN,* University of California at Berkeley JONATHAN I. LUNINE, University of Arizona ROBERTA BALSTAD MILLER, CIESIN-Columbia University BERRIEN MOORE III,* University of New Hampshire KENNETH H. NEALSON,* University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee GARY J. OLSEN, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign MARY JANE OSBORN, University of Connecticut Health Center SIMON OSTRACH,* Case Western Reserve University MORTON B. PANISH,* AT&T Bell Laboratories (retired) CARLÉ M. PIETERS,* Brown University THOMAS A. PRINCE, California Institute of Technology MARCIA J. RIEKE,* University of Arizona PEDRO L. RUSTAN, JR., U.S. Air Force (retired) JOHN A. SIMPSON,* University of Chicago GEORGE L. SISCOE, Boston University EUGENE B. SKOLNIKOFF, Massachusetts Institute of Technology EDWARD M. STOLPER, California Institute of Technology NORMAN E. THAGARD, Florida State University ALAN M. TITLE, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center RAYMOND VISKANTA, Purdue University PETER VOORHEES, Northwestern University ROBERT E. WILLIAMS,* Space Telescope Science Institute JOHN A. WOOD, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics JOSEPH K. ALEXANDER, Director (as of February 17, 1998) MARC S. ALLEN, former Director (through December 12, 1997) *    Former member.

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Supporting Research and Data Analysis in NASA's Science Programs: Engines for Innovation and Synthesis COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS ROBERT J. HERMANN, United Technologies Corporation, Co-chair W. CARL LINEBERGER, University of Colorado, Co-chair PETER M. BANKS, Environmental Research Institute of Michigan WILLIAM BROWDER, Princeton University LAWRENCE D. BROWN, University of Pennsylvania RONALD G. DOUGLAS, Texas A&M University JOHN E. ESTES, University of California at Santa Barbara MARTHA P. HAYNES, Cornell University L. LOUIS HEGEDUS, Elf Atochem North America, Inc. JOHN E. HOPCROFT, Cornell University CAROL M. JANTZEN, Westinghouse Savannah River Company PAUL G. KAMINSKI, Technovation, Inc. KENNETH H. KELLER, University of Minnesota KENNETH I. KELLERMANN, National Radio Astronomy Observatory MARGARET G. KIVELSON, University of California at Los Angeles DANIEL KLEPPNER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOHN KREICK, Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company MARSHA I. LESTER, University of Pennsylvania NICHOLAS P. SAMIOS, Brookhaven National Laboratory CHANG-LIN TIEN, University of California at Berkeley NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director

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Supporting Research and Data Analysis in NASA's Science Programs: Engines for Innovation and Synthesis Foreword The charter of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Public Law 85-568, is known as the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 with its several amendments. Title I gives a "Declaration of Policy and Purpose" listing several objectives "of the aeronautical and space activities of the United States." The first of these is "the expansion of human knowledge of the Earth and of phenomena in the atmosphere and space." It provides the rationale for most of NASA's scientific research. One component of NASA's approach to meeting the objective of Tide I is to conduct space missions. These missions consume the majority of the agency's attention and resources and are most evident to the public; they are certainly necessary for collecting the data that can drive the expansion of knowledge. Equally important components, but ones that are generally less visible and less well appreciated, are the programs in research and analysis and in data analysis. The former provides the scientific underpinnings and often the enabling technology for NASA missions, and the latter turns their raw data into scientific understanding. Both programs are really aggregations of numerous investigations by individuals or consortia at universities, NASA centers, other federal and not-for-profit laboratories, and industry, covering a broad range of topics and kinds of activity. Each one is generally modest, but the total is a significant fraction of NASA's science expenditures. This report takes a broad look at the research and data analysis (R&DA) programs across all the science disciplines addressed by NASA. It considers the role of R&DA, examines as much as possible the historical trends in funding, and considers ways in which R&DA programs could be improved in the context of the current space research environment. It seems inevitable that specific space missions will continue to occupy the foreground of NASA's image, especially for those who look at the agency from some distance. Officials and policy makers, however, must give equal attention to the activities of R&DA, which are essential in meeting the agency's overarching mission to expand human knowledge. Claude R. Canizares Chair, Space Studies Board

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Supporting Research and Data Analysis in NASA's Science Programs: Engines for Innovation and Synthesis Acknowledgment Of Reviewers This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's (NRC's) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The contents of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: George Clark, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Arthur Code, WIYN Consortium, Inc., Thomas M. Donahue, University of Michigan, Richard Goody, Harvard University (emeritus), Jeanne Griffith, National Science Foundation, Kenneth C. Jezek, Byrd Polar Research Center, Adrian D. LeBlanc, Baylor College of Medicine, Methodist Hospital, Ronald F. Probstein, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Roland W. Schmitt, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (retired), and George Wetherill, Carnegie Institution of Washington. We also wish to thank Kathryn Schmoll, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, for her review comments on the data sections of the report. Although the individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC.

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Supporting Research and Data Analysis in NASA's Science Programs: Engines for Innovation and Synthesis Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION         1.1 Science: The Fulcrum of the Civilian Space Program,   7     1.2 Critical Science Questions,   8     1.3 Revitalization,   9     1.4 Balance Between R&DA Programs and Flight Projects,   9 2   CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE RESEARCH AND DATA ANALYSIS PROGRAMS   11     2.1 Discoveries That Influence Societal and Economic Issues and Policies,   12     2.2 Breakthroughs That Change Scientific Understanding,   16     2.3 Technologies That Enable New Observations,   21     2.4 Information That Improves Mission Design,   24     2.5 Investments That Increase the Productivity of Flight Projects,   26     2.6 Research That Complements the Work of Other Federal Agencies,   30     2.7 Science-driven Adventure That Stimulates Interest in Math, Science, or Engineering Education,   31     2.8 Summary Comments,   33 3   THE ROLE OF THE RESEARCH AND DATA ANALYSIS PROGRAMS   34     3.1 Understanding the Basis of R&DA,   34     3.2 Understanding the Roles of R&DA,   37     3.3 Posing a Strategy for R&DA Programs,   42     3.4 Responding to the Changing Environment,   43

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Supporting Research and Data Analysis in NASA's Science Programs: Engines for Innovation and Synthesis 4   BUDGET TRENDS FOR THE RESEARCH AND DATA ANALYSIS PROGRAMS   45     4.1 Overall NASA Funding Trends for R&DA: FY 1991-1998,   46     4.2 Distribution by Sector of NASA Funding for Basic Research: FY 1991-1997,   51     4.3 University Grants and Contracts by Type of Activity: FY 1986-1995,   51     4.4 University Grants and Contracts: Award Sizes and Durations,   54     4.5 Characteristics of Grants at NASA Field Centers,   56 5   SCIENCE COMMUNITY'S PERCEPTIONS ABOUT THE RESEARCH AND DATA ANALYSIS PROGRAMS   58     5.1 Resource Allocation,   58     5.2 Technology, Facilities, and Infrastructure,   60     5.3 Research Grant Management,   61     5.4 Intellectual Capital,   61     5.5 Other Perceptions,   62 6   FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS   63     6.1 Principles for Strategic Planning,   63     6.2 Innovation and Infrastructure,   64     6.3 Management of the Research and Data Analysis Programs,   65     6.4 Participation in the Research and Data Analysis Programs,   66     6.5 Creation of Intellectual Capital,   67     6.6 Accounting as a Management Tool in the Research and Data Analysis Programs,   67     APPENDIXES         A Sources of Data and Method of Development   71     B Overview of NASA Structure and Budget   90     C Acronyms and Abbreviations   93     D Biographical Information for Task Group Members   96