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FEDERAL FUNDING OF ASTRONOMICAL RESEARCH E Additional Sources of Funding for Astronomy E.1 RESEARCH FUNDING AT NASA FACILITIES In addition to the R&A funding discussed in the main body of this report, NASA supports astronomical research at its centers. This support is covered in the overall NASA budget but does not appear either in the Office of Space Science budget or in that subset of the OSS budget associated with R&A, except for grants made to NASA center scientists through the R&A program, scientists supported in part by the MO budget, and funding made available to the centers for technology development. The committee obtained only partial data on NASA astronomy research funding at its centers, in part because astronomy research at the centers is generally not tracked separately. E.1.1 Ames Research Center Astronomy and astrophysics are essentially confined to the Planetary Systems Branch and the Astrophysics Branch of the Space Sciences Division at the Ames Research Center. There is also an Astrobiology Branch that obtains funding from NASA grants, but the committee has excluded this from an astronomy classification. The Planetary Branch is composed mostly of theoretical planetary scientists whose primary focus is origins, work that is more focused than the research carried out in this branch earlier in the decade; for example, work on planetary magnetospheres and stellar atmospheres has now essentially been phased out. There are currently 19 scientists in the Planetary Branch with GS 14-15 salaries averaging about $90,000 per year in 1997 dollars. Although slightly higher now, the number of scientific personnel has been 15 ± 2 over most of the past decade. Over the same period, the Astrophysics Branch has had 10 to 12 scientists, many—if not most—being instrumentalists, at GS 14-15 salaries averaging $90,000. For example, personnel in the Astrophysics Branch are currently constructing a facility instrument for SOFIA, and they are designing the telescope aperture door. There are additional support personnel (e.g., one to two secretaries and about three mechanical [shop] technicians plus some technical support) at Moffett Field. The secretaries' and shop technicians' numbers at Moffett have declined over the decade. Most of the technical support in addition to the shop technicians must be bought and paid for with R&A dollars from the grants. The salaries of these support personnel are in the GS 9-12 range. The travel support for all the civil service employees in the Planetary Systems Branch last year was about $120,000. Aside from the salaries and travel budgets received directly from NASA, all support of science activities in both branches comes from grants supplied by the same NASA research programs that give grants to university PIs. Overhead is extracted from the grants, but it is called a tax. Part of the tax extracted from these grants goes into the Director's Discretionary Fund. Members of the scientific staff have on occasion been invited to write internal proposals to use some of the discretionary funds for science. The outside grants are typically used in the Planetary Branch to fund coinvestigators or postdocs whose official places of employment may be SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) or one of the local colleges, although they work exclusively at Ames on Ames scientific projects. There are
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FEDERAL FUNDING OF ASTRONOMICAL RESEARCH approximately 30 such coinvestigators currently in the Planetary Branch supported on soft money. There has been a steady increase in this type of scientific personnel over the decade. The postdocs at Ames have numbered between 10 and 20 over the decade, and they have been exclusively NRC fellows, with support funneled through the NRC from NASA. Last year NASA funding evaporated and the NRC fellowship program went bankrupt, but the program has been fully restored this year. The total amount of funding for astronomical research at Ames in addition to direct grants and contracts is estimated to be about $5 million per year based on the information above and standardized assumptions about the total cost of scientists ($150,000 per year) and postdocs ($80,000 per year), which includes salaries, benefits, and overhead. A significantly larger amount of funding for astronomy at Ames comes through the airborne observatories program. The Kuiper Airborne Observatory and the next-generation airborne observatory (SOFIA) are described in Section 5.3.3 under NASA facilities. E.1.2 Goddard Institute for Space Studies Currently there are only two scientists at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) involved in astrophysical research, so the federal investment here is less than $0.5 million per year. E.1.3 Goddard Space Flight Center Astronomy and astrophysics at GSFC is conducted in the Sciences Directorate, primarily in the Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics and the Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics. There are other smaller programs in the Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics (primarily comets and planetary work) and in Space Science Data Operations. There are approximately 100 civil service Ph.D.s who conduct astronomy and astrophysics research, a number that has been approximately constant for more than a decade, with new hiring balancing attrition. Over the past five years, however, there has been virtually no hiring (although in the past year, seven term appointments have been made that are expected to be converted to ordinary civil service appointments over the next few years). There is a center strategic initiative that, if carried through to fruition, should result in an increase of about 10 percent to the civil service astronomy and astrophysics staff steady state after 2000. Funding for civil service salaries, travel, and overhead comes directly out of NASA funds and is not subject to reprogramming in accordance with the current congressional authorization, although reprogramming is planned in the future. Expansion (or contraction) of the civil service staff is under the control of GSFC-level management, NASA headquarters, and ultimately, Congress. The primary research areas are (roughly in order of the size of the staff) these: High-energy astrophysics (x-ray, gamma-ray, and cosmic-ray astrophysics), IR astronomy, UV astronomy, Planetary research, Solar physics, and Comets. In the last 10 years, the IR and high-energy astrophysics programs have increased their civil service staff, the UV and solar physics numbers have decreased, and the planetary and comet programs have remained about the same. The present estimates are that 50 to 75 percent (on average) of civil
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FEDERAL FUNDING OF ASTRONOMICAL RESEARCH service time is devoted to programmatic activities and that much less than 50 percent is available for research. All research funds are competed for in the usual fashion through the peer-review process. Most of this funding is secured from NASA headquarters (NASA civil service employees cannot submit proposals for NSF funding). There is also an internal GSFC Director's Discretionary Fund of about $2.5 million per year, which is available for science and technology proposals that are internally peer reviewed–astronomy and astrophysics typically is awarded about $1 million per year, usually for instrument concepts, with annual funding per proposal at about the $50,000 level. The other main source of pure research support at GSFC is the NRC fellowship program, which offers about 20 postdoctoral fellowships each year, primarily to new Ph.D.s. These positions are competitive and are reviewed by the NRC. The funding comes primarily from NASA headquarters and is not fungible. The support includes salary, benefits, and a small travel stipend. In general the host laboratory at GSFC is responsible for providing additional support (computers, additional travel, publications charges, etc.), for which research moneys are used. Since much (but not all) of the GSFC program in engineering, program support, and software activities conducted in the Space Sciences Directorate is in support of the NASA astrophysics program, it is very hard to estimate how much of the additional funds that support program activities should be assigned to the general funding for astrophysics. Significant research is associated with service functions directed by the civil service staff in general areas such as project science support, mission and data operations, data archiving and dissemination, and so forth. Science support contractors generally spend 20 to 25 percent of their time in scientific research of their own, which is usually associated with the mission that they are supporting. Depending on the specific responsibilities that the center undertakes, the science contractor staff has been as large as about 500 at GSFC when COBE, HST, CGRO, SOHO (the Solar Heliospheric Observatory), and others, were all in their operations phases a few years ago. The total number is now less than 200. Aside from these estimates, no attempt has been made to gauge this level of effort. The committee believes that it is accounted for properly in Section 5.2 on the NASA R&A budget. From the information cited above, a rough estimate of the level of funding for astronomical research at GSFC, in addition to that directly funded from the NASA OSS budget, is approximately $20 million per year, based on standardized assumptions about the total cost of scientists ($150,000 per year) and postdocs ($80,000 per year), which includes salaries, benefits, and overhead. E.1.4 NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Funding for astronomical research at JPL comes principally through the Research and Technology Objectives and Plans (RTOP) process and thus shows up in the astronomy and astrophysics budgets of the OSS at NASA but not in the NASA R&A budget discussed in this report. A modest amount of funding for astronomical research comes from the JPL Director's Discretionary Fund. E.1.5 Marshall Space Flight Center Astronomy and astrophysics research at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) is conducted in the Space Science Department of the Science Directorate. The Space Science Department has a permanent staff of 41, including 24 Ph.D. scientists and 9 master's-level scientists who work in the various astronomy and astrophysics disciplines. The staff has declined by roughly 20 percent over the past decade. To partially offset this decline, four Ph.D. scientists have been hired on temporary appointments (Intergovernmental Personnel Act or term appointments). NASA headquarters has set a limit of 41 full-time equivalents (FTEs) on MSFC's scientific manpower, a total that includes 6
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FEDERAL FUNDING OF ASTRONOMICAL RESEARCH permanent positions in the study of space plasmas plus secretarial support. Funding for civil service salaries, travel, and overhead comes directly out of NASA funds assigned to MSFC and is approximately $4.3 million per year. The research disciplines supported at MSFC are high-energy astrophysics (cosmic-ray physics, gamma-ray and x-ray astronomy), solar physics, astrobiology, and planetary research. The personnel breakdown by the four disciplines is 19, 12, 1, and 1, respectively. The funds that support research activities, as opposed to civil service manpower costs, are received in the main from NASA headquarters and obtained through the normal competitive process by responding to NRAs and Announcements of Opportunity (AOs). In FY 1999, this amounted to approximately $4 million and is representative of the level of support received for the last five years. Modest support, at the level of $100,000 to $150,000 per year, is also received from MSFC's Director 's Discretionary Fund. In addition to NASA support, occasional funding is also received from other agencies of the U.S. government, especially the Departments of Energy, Commerce, and Defense. Over the long term this has averaged about $100,000 per year. Another important source of support for astronomy and astrophysics at MSFC is the NRC fellowship program. The program is funded by NASA headquarters, which has allocated MSFC about 10 postdoctoral positions per year. The financial benefit of this program is estimated at $700,000 per year. In summary, the level of funding for astronomical research at MSFC from all sources is approximately $9.25 million per year, which supports a scientific work force in astronomy and astrophysics of approximately 70 to 80 individuals. Some of the scientists employed by the University of Alabama in Huntsville receive partial support from MSFC. E.1.6 Space Telescope Science Institute Research funding at STScI comes through a combination of direct salary support for the scientific staff and a small (approximately $0.5 million per year) Director's Discretionary Fund, which is a negotiated part of the overhead on the STScI operations contract. Scientists are expected to spend up to 50 percent of their time on research, although, in practice, because of the heavy functional loads this fraction is usually much less than 50 percent. Support scientists are expected to spend only 20 percent of their time on research. All of these research funds are accounted in the NASA operating contract to AURA for STScI. However, this internal research support is covered in the NASA MO budget, not the R&A budget. The STScI is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, an independent not-for-profit research management corporation, under contract with NASA. E.2 NASA TECHNOLOGY FUNDING The committee notes that a significant amount of support for facilities and instrumentation development has been funded under NASA technology programs, primarily at the NASA centers. Data on the fraction of NASA technology funding applied to astronomy missions and instrumentation are not generally available; therefore, the committee is not able to estimate the magnitude of this component of funding for astronomy.
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FEDERAL FUNDING OF ASTRONOMICAL RESEARCH E.3 RESEARCH FUNDING AT NSF FACILITIES In addition to their roles in providing service and access to the community, NSF centers also host scientific staff who pursue their own independent research some fraction of the time. This research is supported either by internal funds or through grants from other agencies (e.g., NASA). Unlike NASA centers, this support is generally covered in the main body of this report either under the center' s operation budget, listed under operations support in the NSF summary or, if the grant support is from NASA, under the NASA R&A budget summary. E.3.1 National Radio Astronomy Observatory The NRAO is a federally funded research and development center of NSF. NRAO operates a number of facilities: the Very Large Array and Very Long Baseline Array in Socorro, New Mexico; the 140 Foot Telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia, soon to be closed in anticipation of the completion of construction and the beginning of operations of the Green Bank Telescope in early 2000; and the 12 Meter Telescope on Kitt Peak near Tucson, Arizona, to be closed when the Millimeter Array (MMA) begins interim operations. NRAO is conducting design and development work for the MMA, which is expected to join a similar European project, merging into a single international project to be called the Atacama Large Millimeter Array. NRAO also conducts a program of technology development in electronics for radio astronomy applications. Electronics developed by NRAO have been made available to the research community, including NASA missions (MAP), when there is no alternative commercial source. NRAO is the leading member of an international consortium to develop and support a data analysis system, AIPS++, applicable to the reduction of data from any radio telescope, worldwide. NRAO receives funds from NASA to participate in a JPL program of space very long baseline interferometry (VLBI), which combines the VLBA with an orbiting Japanese radio telescope to achieve higher angular resolution than is provided by Earth-based interferometer elements alone. Observing time on NRAO telescopes is granted on the basis of scientific merit. Proposals are reviewed by outside referees. NRAO staff compete on the same basis and through the same procedures as do visiting observers. NRAO provides partial travel support and publication support to visiting observers. The FY 1998 operating budget for the NRAO provided by NSF was about $31.7 million. This breaks down into the following categories: Socorro operations, 44 percent; Green Bank operations, 19 percent; Tucson operations, 6 percent; electronics development, 5 percent; research support, including software, for visitors and staff, 18 percent; administrative, 10 percent; equipment, 1 percent; less income (from sale of electronics and common cost recovery on outside contracts), 3 percent. The 1999 total of work for other agencies is about $3 million (NASA space VLBI and U.S. Naval Observatory for Earth rotation measures). The 1999 budget for MMA design and development is $9 million (1999 was the second year of a three-year MMA D&D program totaling $25 million that is being funded by NSF). The NRAO is operated by Associated Universities, Inc., an independent not-for-profit research management corporation, under cooperative agreement with the NSF. E.3.2 National Optical Astronomy Observatories The NOAO is an FFRDC of the National Science Foundation. It comprises four divisions: Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory (CTIO), National Solar Observatory, and the United States Gemini Program/Science Operations (USGP/SCOPE). In addition, a number of groups provide central technical and administrative support to all the divisions. NOAO
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FEDERAL FUNDING OF ASTRONOMICAL RESEARCH operates a number of telescopes on Kitt Peak, both nighttime and solar, including the 4-meter Mayall telescope, the 3.5-meter WIYN telescope (jointly owned with the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, and Yale University), and the McMath-Pierce solar telescope. NOAO-operated telescopes on Cerro Tololo include the 4-meter Blanco telescope and the 1.5-meter telescope, and those on Sacramento Peak in New Mexico include the Vacuum Tower Telescope, the Evans Solar Facility, and the Hilltop Dome Facility. Telescope time allocation at NOAO is proposal driven. Separate panels read proposals in galactic astronomy, extragalactic astronomy, and solar system studies and evaluate them on the basis of scientific merit. The NSF funds for operating the NOAO also provide support for 45 scientific staff, including postdocs. These staff are expected to spend half of their time on service-related activities and half on their own scientific research. The primary research areas are as follows: Optical nighttime astronomy, Infrared nighttime astronomy, Solar physics, Planetary research, and Theory. The annual NSF budget for NOAO is approximately $27million, of which about 22 percent provides scientific staff salaries and benefits, 16 percent is used to develop and build instruments for the NOAO facilities, and 62 percent supports operations and maintenance of the facilities. The NOAO budget is divided among the divisions as follows: 27 percent for CTIO, 21 percent for KPNO, 16 percent for NSO (which also receives U.S. Air Force funding), and 9 percent for USGP/SCOPE. The remaining 27 percent is divided among the joint instrumentation program (11 percent ) and central offices (16 percent). The central offices category includes outreach activities as well as administrative functions. NOAO operations funding from the NSF has been roughly constant in current dollars over the last decade. The NOAO is managed by AURA, a nonprofit consortium of 29 U.S. institutions and six international affiliates under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. E.3.3 International Gemini Project The Gemini 8-Meter Telescopes Project is an international partnership to build and operate two 8-meter telescopes, one on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and one on Cerro Pachon, Chile. The partners are the United States (47.6 percent), the United Kingdom (23.8 percent), Canada (14.3 percent), Australia (4.8 percent), Chile (4.8 percent), Argentina (2.4 percent), and Brazil (2.4 percent). The U.S. share is funded by NSF. The U.S. contribution was $92 million in the construction phase and will be approximately $7 million per year in the operations phase. Gemini-North is scheduled to go into operation in June 2000 and Gemini-South in June 2001. U.S. astronomers will have access to the Gemini telescopes through peer-reviewed proposals submitted to NOAO. At Gemini-North 51.6 percent of the time will be available to U.S. astronomers (with 10 percent for the University of Hawaii included in this number), and at Gemini-South, 41.6 percent of the time will be available to U.S. astronomers. The Gemini staff will include about 20 astronomers based at one of the two sites, who will be expected to spend 25 to 40 percent of their time on their own research. Gemini is managed by AURA.
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FEDERAL FUNDING OF ASTRONOMICAL RESEARCH E.3.4 National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center The NAIC is supported primarily through NSF's Division of Astronomical Sciences, but NSF's Division of Atmospheric Sciences supports atmospheric science research and NASA supports the solar system radar program. NAIC's main facility is the 305-meter Arecibo dish, which is the world's largest filled aperture radio telescope. It also operates several small optical telescopes for LIDAR (light detection and ranging) and passive atmospheric studies. The 305-meter telescope is used primarily for single-dish radio astronomy but is a powerful addition to the VLBI network because of its substantial contribution to the total system collecting area. Its radar astronomy capability is unequaled as a result of this system 's recent enhancement. The Arecibo telescope had only limited availability for research during a major upgrade to install the Gregorian feed system and a ground screen. Nearly normal scientific operations resumed during the past year. Before the upgrade, approximately 80 percent of the time available for research on the large dish was used for radio astronomy, 5 percent of the time for radar astronomy, and 15 percent of the time for ionospheric studies. NAIC is operated by Cornell University under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. E.4 DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Over the past two decades the boundaries between astrophysics and cosmology and nuclear and particle physics have become blurred. During this time, the Department of Energy has become an important player in the funding of astrophysics, both university and laboratory groups and large projects. DOE funding for astrophysics comes from the Divisions of High-Energy Physics (HEP) and Nuclear Physics. The DOE interest in astrophysics has been intellectual and bidirectional: nuclear physics and particle physics have important implications for astrophysics or cosmology; astrophysics and cosmology can be used to probe fundamental physics in regimes beyond the reach of terrestrial laboratories. Total DOE spending on astrophysics, both at the laboratories and in the university program and through HEP and Nuclear Physics, was estimated to be $30 million in FY 1997. Most of the support for astrophysics comes from HEP. It supports university and laboratory groups through continuing grants and contracts (human level of effort) and additional money for major projects (equipment and the like). Here is a snapshot of FY 1997: overall, 230 groups were supported at 100 universities. The university program consisted of about 1,000 Ph.D.s (630 experimentalists and 370 theorists) and 520 graduate students (375 experimentalists and 145 theorists). The program included 30 tasks within the 230 groups that could be easily identified as astrophysics (a given university group may have multiple tasks within it). The head count in astrophysics was 75 Ph.D.s and 35 graduate students (about 7 percent of the university program). The total budget for this effort was about $13 million. Of this $13 million, about $2.3 million was designated for equipment for the shuttle/space station-based antimatter search (AMS), SuperKamiokande (solar, atmospheric, and supernova neutrino and proton decay detector), and MILAGRO and Granite (high-energy gamma-ray detectors). It is estimated that another $12 million was spent at DOE laboratories on astrophysics (Fermilab, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory [LBNL], Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center [SLAC] all have significant efforts in astrophysics). The major projects funded by DOE HEP in FY 1997 included three direct dark-matter searches (the cosmic axion search based at Livermore; the neutralino search currently at Stanford and moving to the Soudan Mine, known as CDMS I and II; and a monopole search at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy, known as MACRO); the AMS on the Space Station; the Supernova Cosmology Project at LBNL (determination of deceleration of the universe using type Ia supernovae); the Sloan Digital Sky Survey at Fermilab (five-color digital sky survey and million-galaxy map of the universe); five high-energy
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FEDERAL FUNDING OF ASTRONOMICAL RESEARCH cosmic-ray/gamma-ray experiments (MACRO, CASA-MIA array in Utah, Granite, MILAGRO, and AMANDA neutrino detector at the South Pole); and some support for cosmic microwave background experiments (Professor George Smoot's group at LBNL). The Division of Nuclear Physics supports several theoretical nuclear astrophysics groups as well as the Institute for Nuclear Theory at the University of Washington, which has had a number of programs related to nuclear astrophysics and cosmology. DOE Nuclear Physics funds three solar-neutrino experiments: the Soviet American Gallium Experiment (SAGE), the European Gallium Solar-neutrino Detector (GALLEX), and the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, which is just coming on line. It is estimated that the total spending for astrophysics-related work in FY 1998 was $5 million. Astrophysics and cosmology are often cited as scientific drivers for the major accelerator facilities: the B-factory at SLAC (charge-parity conjugation [CP] violation and the origin of the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe); TeVatron at Fermilab (search for supersymmetry and the neutralino); and the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven (the transition from quarkgluon plasma to hadrons in the early universe). DOE laboratory-funded astrophysics groups exist at Fermilab (both theory and experiment), LBNL (the Institute for Nuclear and Particle Astrophysics), Livermore (Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics), and Los Alamos (the T-8 theoretical astrophysics group). DOE interest in astrophysics seems to be increasing and broadening. It is estimated that funding for astrophysics since FY 1997 has increased at about 10 percent per year and that 10 percent of DOE-supported high-energy physicists are involved in astrophysics research. Both DOE Nuclear Physics and DOE HEP are currently considering new projects: the Auger Observatory and HiResII (ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays), a kilometer-scale high-energy neutrino observatory (Km3), Veritas (teraelectron-volt gamma rays), GLAST (gamma-ray large-area space telescope), Icarus (solar and supernova neutrinos and dark matter), and Radioactive Ion Beam (Isotope Separator On Line [ISOL]), a new major facility to probe nuclei far from the line of stability (much of the scientific justification is astrophysics). Further, DOE now sees a second reason for its involvement in astrophysics: technology transfer. GLAST is a prime example of this (DOE detector expertise). Currently, DOE HEP seeks advice on new initiatives in astrophysics through the Scientific Assessment Group for Experiments in Non-Accelerator Physics (SAGENAP). SAGENAP is co-chaired by P.K. Williams (DOE HEP) and Patricia Rankin (NSF Physics); it reports to NSF's Physics Division and DOE HEP. There has been some DOE interest in having the 1991 decadal survey committee evaluate future projects (Km3 and ISOL). The estimated total DOE spending on astrophysics and astrophysics-related programs, including university programs and laboratory activity, for FY 1997 was $25 million. Astrophysics funding increased by about 10 percent in FY 1998; the estimated increase for FY 1999 is also 10 percent. E.5 DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of Defense (DOD) funding of astronomy and astrophysics is difficult to determine because it is generally buried in a number of different DOD programs. The committee identified several programs with significant federal funding: U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO), Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Air Force Phillips Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, The Aerospace Corporation,
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FEDERAL FUNDING OF ASTRONOMICAL RESEARCH Sacramento Peak Observatory/National Solar Observatory, and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). A large portion of this astronomy funding is at USNO with a FY 1997 budget of approximately $10 million. This includes the operations in both Washington, D.C., and Flagstaff, Arizona, and a grants program. These programs primarily support positional astronomy. NRL carried out basic astrophysical programs with a FY 1997 budget of approximately $2 million. Funding for both of these programs has been relatively constant over the last ten years. The Air Force Phillips Laboratory supports at least three known components of astronomy and astrophysics. The Phillips Laboratory in Bedford, Massachusetts, supports infrared astronomy through its rocket and satellite programs. The Phillips Laboratory, New Mexico, has two major astronomical components, an adaptive optics program plus a 3.5-meter telescope that provides technology development for astronomy and a 3.7-meter telescope on Maui (Hawaii), which will be used by the University of Hawaii 10 percent of the time for astronomical research. The estimated level of funding for the University of Hawaii was about $1 million in FY 1997. Most of this funding was for instrumentation. The total development cost of the telescope is about $50 million. DOD funding of solar research at NOAO/NSO was about $0.65 million in FY 1997. Finally, the Aerospace Corporation has a modest infrared astronomy program with a FY 1997 budget of $350,000. E.6 SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION The Smithsonian Institution is a unique Trust Instrumentality of the federal government, which also supports a significant astronomical research endeavor, primarily through the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The federally funded activities of SAO center around research in seven areas: atomic and molecular physics, high-energy astrophysics, optical and infrared astronomy, planetary sciences, radio and geoastronomy, solar and stellar physics, and theoretical astrophysics. Within these activities, the two major facilities are the F.L. Whipple Observatory, which includes the Multiple Mirror Telescope (MMT; jointly operated with the University of Arizona) and which has been in operation since the 1960s, and the Submillimeter Array on Mauna Kea, currently under development. The conversion of the MMT to a single 6.5-meter telescope and the construction of the Submillimeter Array, and the major instrumentation programs for each, are currently covered separately from the basic operations and research budget. The breakdown of federal research and operations support at SAO for the above fields is approximately as follows: atomic and molecular physics, 6 percent (which includes laboratory astrophysics, theoretical chemistry, and atmospheric chemistry); high-energy astrophysics, 8 percent (primarily experimental x-ray astronomy); optical and infrared astronomy, 32 percent (of which 40 percent is operations support for SAO's ground-based observatories, 45 percent is ground-based optical, and 15 percent is ground and space IR and gamma-ray astronomy); planetary sciences, 3 percent; radio astronomy, 17 percent; solar and stellar physics, 9 percent (about half each for solar and stellar); and theoretical astrophysics, 3 percent. The remaining fraction of federal support goes toward support activities (libraries, publications, etc.) and administration. The budget for SAO in FY 1997 was approximately $16.8 million plus $7.24 million for major facility construction. This represents an increase of approximately 20 percent in the basic research and operations budget over 7 years (less than 3 percent per year) and a 34 percent increase over the same period for facility construction and instrumentation. The largest growth in the above scientific research areas has been in radio astronomy (because of the construction of the Submillimeter Array), and in theoretical astrophysics, which is only a small fraction of SAO's total scientific program. There have been small fractional increases in research support for high-energy and optical and infrared astronomy, which have been offset by declining support for administration, solar and stellar physics, and planetary
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FEDERAL FUNDING OF ASTRONOMICAL RESEARCH sciences. Note that a small fraction (about 2 percent) of the SAO research support is derived from the Smithsonian's endowment and private funds. E.7 NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado at Boulder jointly support JILA, formerly known as the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics. The senior scientific staff (or fellows) of JILA hold either faculty appointments at the university or civil service appointments at NIST. A decade ago there were several NIST positions in astrophysics, but these are no longer supported because of a change in the mission of NIST. Astrophysics continues to be supported from the university side, and NIST continues to maintain a gravitational physics program.
Representative terms from entire chapter: