Letter of Request
2 June 2008
Dr. Lennard A. Fisk
Space Studies Board
National Research Council
Dear Dr. Fisk:
The legislative report accompanying the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations bill for NASA established a requirement for the National Research Council (NRC) to undertake a two-phase study to review recent reports on near Earth object (NEO) detection and deflection and other relevant documentation, and to develop recommendations on optimal approaches to surveying the NEO population and to developing a deflection capability:
In order to assist Congress in determining the optimal approach regarding the Arecibo Observatory, NASA shall contract with the National Research Council to study the issue and make recommendations. As part of its deliberations, the NRC shall review NASA’s report 2006 Near-Earth Object Survey and Deflection Study and its associated March 2007 Near-Earth Object Survey and Deflection Study as well as any other relevant literature. An interim report, with recommendations focusing primarily on the optimal approach to the survey program, shall be submitted within 15 months of enactment of this Act. The final report including recommendations regarding the optimal approach to developing a deflection capability, shall be submitted with 21 months of enactment of this Act. The NRC study shall include an assessment of the costs of various alternatives, including options that may blend the use of different facilities (whether ground- or space-based), or involve international cooperation. Independent cost estimating should be utilized.
In accordance with this Congressional direction, we would like the NRC’s Space Studies Board (SSB) to conduct the required analysis and prepare the required two-phase report. Terms of reference for the study activity are provided in the enclosed Statement of Task. An initial report providing findings and recommendations for the first task should be submitted no later than September 30, 2009. A second report describing the final findings and recommendations of both tasks should be submitted no later than December 31, 2009.
We would like to request that the NRC submit a plan to NASA for execution of the study described herein on this schedule. Once agreement with the NRC on the scope and cost for the proposed study has been achieved, the NASA Contracting Officer will issue a task order for implementation. Mr. Lindley Johnson will be the technical point of contact for this effort, and may be reached at (202) XXX-XXXX or lindley.johnson@XXXX.
James L. Green,
Planetary Science Division, NASA
Astronomical Science Division, NASA