The 2011 National Research Council decadal survey on biological and physical sciences in space, Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era, was written during a critical period in the evolution of science in support of space exploration. The research agenda in space life and physical sciences had been significantly descoped during the programmatic adjustments of the Vision for Space Exploration in 2005, and this occurred in the same era as the International Space Station (ISS) assembly was nearing completion in 2011. Out of that period of change, Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration presented a cogent argument for the critical need for space life and physical sciences, both for enabling and expanding the exploration capabilities of NASA as well as for contributing unique science in many fields that can be enabled by access to the spaceflight environment.
Since the 2011 publication of the decadal survey, NASA has seen tremendous change, including the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program and the maturation of the ISS. NASA formation of the Division of Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications provided renewed focus on the research of the decadal survey. NASA has modestly regrown some of the budget of space life and physical sciences within the agency and engaged the U.S. science community outside NASA to join in this research. In addition, NASA has collaborated with the international space science community.
This midterm assessment reviews NASA’s progress since the 2011 decadal survey in order to evaluate the high-priority research identified in the decadal survey in light of future human Mars exploration. It makes recommendations on science priorities, specifically those priorities that best enable deep space exploration.
Table of Contents
|2 The NASA Programmatic Approach and Strategy Addressing the 2011 Space Life and Physical Sciences Decadal Survey||12-35|
|3 Science Progress Toward the Goals and Priorities of the 2011 Space Life and Physical Sciences Decadal Survey||36-57|
|4 Prioritizations and Rankings to Optimize and Enable the Expansion of Deep Space Human Exploration||58-86|
|5 Recommendations for Implementing the Decadal Portfolio Over Remaining Years Within Constraints||87-92|
|Appendix A: Statement of Task||95-96|
|Appendix B: Meeting Agendas||97-100|
|Appendix C: Biographies of Committee Members, Consultant, and Staff||101-107|
|Appendix D: Acronyms||108-110|
|Appendix E: Criteria and Table Reprinted from the 2011 Decadal Survey||111-121|
|Appendix F: Commercial Spaceflight Federation Listing of Microgravity Experiments Since 2011 that Have Flown on Balloons, Parabolic, or Suborbital Missions||122-128|
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