APPENDIX A

Letter of Request

February l4, 2000

Dr. Bruce Alberts

President

National Academy of Sciences 2101 Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC 20418

Dear Dr. Alberts:

As I mentioned to you in my letter of thanks for the Academy's review of our post-2002 mission plans (July 19, 1999), we have resumed the development of an Earth Science Implementation Plan for the next decade. We have developed a draft plan within NASA with the help of members of our Earth System Science and Applications Advisory Committee of the NASA Science Council and from the Earth Observing System Investigators Working Group. In doing so, we have taken into account recommendations from a number of National Research Council (NRC) reports issued during the past two years.

We begin the Plan with an extended overview that sets the scientific, policy and programmatic context. This overview identifies the primary science objectives and the detailed questions that will guide our research and mission concept definition over the next decade. I request that the NRC undertake a review of this document. Specifically, I would like the NRC to assess the following:

  • the characterization of the issues and primary questions the Plan proposes to address;

  • the criteria and prioritization process described for both the science questions and the definition of mission concepts; and

  • the soundness of the selection of detailed questions to be pursued, particularly in light of existing NRC reports such as "Global Environmental Change: Research Pathways for the Next Decade".

While NASA can address some science questions with end-to-end research programs and make important contributions to others, it does not cover the entire scope embraced by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Thus, the NRC's review should take into account NASA's character as a space agency in evaluating our prioritization and selection of science questions. As more than one standing NRC committee has interests in this area, I ask that your office determine the best approach to involve the relevant expertise. It would be most helpful if the NRC could complete its review and provide a report by the end of this summer 2000.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. I look forward to receiving the NRC's study proposal.

Sincerely,

Ghassem R. Asrar

Associate Administrator for Earth Science



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Review of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise Research Strategy for 2000-2010 APPENDIX A Letter of Request February l4, 2000 Dr. Bruce Alberts President National Academy of Sciences 2101 Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC 20418 Dear Dr. Alberts: As I mentioned to you in my letter of thanks for the Academy's review of our post-2002 mission plans (July 19, 1999), we have resumed the development of an Earth Science Implementation Plan for the next decade. We have developed a draft plan within NASA with the help of members of our Earth System Science and Applications Advisory Committee of the NASA Science Council and from the Earth Observing System Investigators Working Group. In doing so, we have taken into account recommendations from a number of National Research Council (NRC) reports issued during the past two years. We begin the Plan with an extended overview that sets the scientific, policy and programmatic context. This overview identifies the primary science objectives and the detailed questions that will guide our research and mission concept definition over the next decade. I request that the NRC undertake a review of this document. Specifically, I would like the NRC to assess the following: the characterization of the issues and primary questions the Plan proposes to address; the criteria and prioritization process described for both the science questions and the definition of mission concepts; and the soundness of the selection of detailed questions to be pursued, particularly in light of existing NRC reports such as "Global Environmental Change: Research Pathways for the Next Decade". While NASA can address some science questions with end-to-end research programs and make important contributions to others, it does not cover the entire scope embraced by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Thus, the NRC's review should take into account NASA's character as a space agency in evaluating our prioritization and selection of science questions. As more than one standing NRC committee has interests in this area, I ask that your office determine the best approach to involve the relevant expertise. It would be most helpful if the NRC could complete its review and provide a report by the end of this summer 2000. Thank you for your consideration of this request. I look forward to receiving the NRC's study proposal. Sincerely, Ghassem R. Asrar Associate Administrator for Earth Science