Lessons Learned in
Decadal Planning in
Summary of a Workshop
Lewis Groswald and David H. Smith, Rapporteurs
Space Studies Board
Board on Physics and Astronomy
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
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.
This report is based on work supported by Contract NNH11CD57B between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This report has been prepared by the workshop rapporteurs as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. The planning committee’s role was limited to planning and convening the workshop. The views contained in the report are those of individual workshop participants and do not necessarily represent the views of all workshop participants, the planning committee, or the National Research Council.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-29067-8
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-29067-8
Cover: Designed by Harrison Dreves. Image of the Orion Nebula courtesy of NASA, ESA, M. Robberto, and the Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team. Image of Saturn and Titan courtesy of NASA, JPL-Caltech, and the Space Science Institute. Image of the Sun courtesy of the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory team. Image of the Earth courtesy of NASA, Reto Stöckli, Robert Simmon, MODIS team, and the USGS EROS Data Center. Background image of galaxies courtesy of NASA, ESA, and R. Massey.
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Copyright 2013 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
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. Ralph J. Cicerone 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. C. D. Mote, Jr., 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. Harvey V. Fineberg 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. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
OTHER RECENT REPORTS OF THE SPACE STUDIES BOARD AND THE BOARD ON PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY
Adapting to a Changing World—Challenges and Opportunities in Undergraduate Physics Education (Board on Physics and Astronomy [BPA], 2013)
Assessment of Inertial Confinement Fusion Targets (BPA and the Board on Energy and Environmental Systems [BEES], 2013)
An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy (BPA and BEES, 2013)
Assessment of a Plan for U.S. Participation in Euclid (BPA with the Space Studies Board [SSB], 2012)
Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Spacecraft Missions to Icy Solar System Bodies (SSB, 2012)
Earth Science and Applications from Space: A Midterm Assessment of NASA’s Implementation of the Decadal Survey (SSB, 2012)
The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate: A Workshop Report (SSB, 2012)
NASA’s Strategic Direction and the Need for a National Consensus (Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, 2012)
Nuclear Physics: Exploring the Heart of Matter (BPA, 2012)
Report of the Panel on Implementing Recommendations from the New Worlds, New Horizons Decadal Survey (BPA and SSB, 2012)
Technical Evaluation of the NASA Model for Cancer Risk to Astronauts Due to Space Radiation (SSB, 2012)
Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions (SSB, 2011)
An Assessment of the Science Proposed for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) (BPA, 2011)
Panel Reports—New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics (BPA and SSB, 2011)
Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era (SSB and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board [ASEB], 2011)
Sharing the Adventure with the Public—The Value and Excitement of “Grand Questions” of Space Science and Exploration: Summary of a Workshop (SSB, 2011)
Views of the NAS and NAE on Agenda Items at Issue at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2012 [prepublication] (BPA, 2011)
Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022 (SSB, 2011)
Capabilities for the Future: An Assessment of NASA Laboratories for Basic Research (Laboratory Assessments Board with SSB and ASEB, 2010)
Controlling Cost Growth of NASA Earth and Space Science Missions (SSB, 2010) Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies: Final Report (SSB with ASEB, 2010)
An Enabling Foundation for NASA’s Space and Earth Science Missions (SSB, 2010)
Forging the Future of Space Science: The Next 50 Years (SSB, 2010)
Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era of Space Exploration: An Interim Report (SSB with ASEB, 2010)
New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics (BPA and SSB, 2010)
Research at the Intersection of the Physical and Life Sciences (BPA and with the Board on Life Sciences and the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, 2010)
Revitalizing NASA’s Suborbital Program: Advancing Science, Driving Innovation, and Developing a Workforce (SSB, 2010)
Selling the Nation’s Helium Reserve (BPA, 2010)
Spectrum Management for Science in the 21st Century (BPA, 2010)
Limited copies of SSB reports are available free of charge from:
Space Studies Board
National Research Council
The Keck Center of the National Academies
500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001
PLANNING COMMITTEE ON LESSONS LEARNED IN DECADAL PLANNING IN SPACE: A WORKSHOP
CHARLES F. KENNEL, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, Co-Chair
ALAN M. DRESSLER, Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science, Co-Chair
STEVEN J. BATTEL, Battel Engineering
STACEY W. BOLAND, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
WILLIAM B. GAIL, Global Weather Corporation
J. TODD HOEKSEMA, Stanford University
ANTHONY C. JANETOS, Joint Global Change Research Institute
ROBERT P. LIN,1 University of California, Berkeley
STEPHEN J. MACKWELL, Lunar and Planetary Institute
RALPH L. McNUTT, JR., Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
PAUL L. SCHECHTER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A. THOMAS YOUNG, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired)
DAVID H. SMITH, Senior Program Officer, Study Director
LEWIS B. GROSWALD, Associate Program Officer
CATHERINE A. GRUBER, Editor
CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator
HARRISON DREVES, Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern
MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director, Space Studies Board
1 Dr. Lin passed away on November 17, 2012.
SPACE STUDIES BOARD
CHARLES F. KENNEL, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, Chair
JOHN KLINEBERG, Space Systems/Loral (retired), Vice Chair
MARK R. ABBOTT, Oregon State University
JAMES ANDERSON, Harvard University
JAMES BAGIAN, University of Michigan
JOSEPH FULLER, JR., Futron Corporation
THOMAS R. GAVIN, California Institute of Technology
NEIL GEHRELS, NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center
SARAH GIBSON, National Center for Atmospheric Research
HEIDI B. HAMMEL, AURA
RODERICK HEELIS, University of Texas, Dallas
JOSEPH S. HEZIR, EOP Group, Inc.
WESLEY T. HUNTRESS, Carnegie Institution of Washington
ANTHONY C. JANETOS, University of Maryland
JOAN JOHNSON-FREESE, U.S. Naval War College
JOHN F. MUSTARD, Brown University
DAVA J. NEWMAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
ROBERT T. PAPPALARDO, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
SAUL PERLMUTTER, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
MARCIA J. RIEKE, University of Arizona
DAVID N. SPERGEL, Princeton University
MEENAKSHI WADHWA, Arizona State University
CLIFFORD M. WILL, Washington University
THOMAS H. ZURBUCHEN, University of Michigan
MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director
CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator
TANJA PILZAK, Manager, Program Operations
CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate
CHRISTINA O. SHIPMAN, Financial Officer
SANDRA WILSON, Financial Assistant
BOARD ON PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY
PHILIP H. BUCKSBAUM, Stanford University, Chair
DEBRA M. ELMEGREEN, Vassar College, Vice Chair
RICCARDO BETTI, University of Rochester
ADAM S. BURROWS, Princeton University
TODD DITMIRE, University of Texas, Austin
NATHANIEL J. FISCH, Princeton University
PAUL FLEURY, Yale University
S. JAMES GATES, University of Maryland
LAURA H. GREENE, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
MARTHA P. HAYNES, Cornell University
MARK B. KETCHEN, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center
MONICA OLVERA DE LA CRUZ, Northwestern University
PAUL SCHECHTER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
BORIS SHRAIMAN, Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics
MICHAEL S. TURNER, The University of Chicago
ELLEN D. WILLIAMS, BP International
MICHAEL S. WITHERELL, University of California, Santa Barbara
JAMES LANCASTER, Director
DONALD C. SHAPERO, Senior Scholar
DAVID LANG, Program Officer
TERI THOROWGOOD, Administrative Coordinator (through June 2013)
CARYN J. KNUTSEN, Associate Program Officer (through June 2013)
BETH DOLAN, Financial Associate
The National Research Council (NRC) has been conducting decadal surveys in the Earth and space sciences since 1964, and released the latest five surveys in the past 5 years, four of which were only completed in the past 3 years. The concept for the Lessons Learned in Decadal Planning in Space Science Workshop arose after the recent decadal surveys met unforeseen challenges to their implementation that required a closer look at the decadal survey process and how to improve this essential tool for strategic planning in the Earth and space sciences. Workshop moderators, panelists, and participants1 lifted up the hood on the decadal survey process and scrutinized every element of the decadal surveys to determine what lessons can be gleaned from recent experiences and applied to the design and execution of future decadal surveys.
The 2011 decadal survey on life and physical sciences—Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era2—is not discussed because this workshop was initiated in response to a request from NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) to examine the lessons learned from the conduct of the four most recent decadal surveys it had requested and sponsored. The decadal survey on life and physical sciences was sponsored by NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate and was initiated in response to language in the Fiscal Year 2008 Omnibus Appropriations Act (Public Law 110-161) instructing NASA “to enter into an agreement with the National Research Council to conduct a ‘decadal survey’ of life and physical sciences in microgravity and partial gravity to establish priorities for research for the 2010-2020 decade.”
Some 150 participants attended the workshop, held on November 12-13, 2012, in the auditorium of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academies in Irvine, California; the workshop was open to the public. The workshop’s structure and content were determined by an ad hoc planning committee co-chaired by Space Studies Board (SSB) chair Charles Kennel and SSB member Alan Dressler. The workshop statement of task was as follows:
An ad hoc committee will plan and conduct a public workshop that will review and discuss key aspects of the most recent NRC decadal surveys in space science. The workshop will focus on identifying lessons learned and best practices from the most recent surveys: solar and space physics (2012), planetary science (2011), astronomy (2010), and Earth science and applications from space (2007). The workshop will also review and discuss the first round of NRC mid-decade assessment reports in astronomy (2007), planetary science (2007), solar and space physics (2009), and Earth science and applications from space (2012). The agenda of the workshop will be designed to promote discussion among science community leaders, federal agency program managers that use and implement survey recommendations, and other identified stakeholders, with a view to identifying ideas for the future improvement of the decadal survey and mid-decade review processes. The committee will develop the agenda topics, select and invite speakers and discussants, commission individually-authored summary papers from the presenters, and moderate the discussion at the workshop. A designated rapporteur will prepare a summary of the workshop.
1 The names, affiliations, and biographical sketches of all workshop moderators and panelists are provided in Appendix B.
2 National Research Council, Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2011.
The workshop planning committee identified seven panel sessions they felt would best serve the purpose of the workshop and produce useful lessons learned:3
1. Panel of Decadal Survey Chairs: A panel comprised of the chairs from the most recent decadal surveys who spoke about their experience as leaders of the surveys;
2. Panel on Agency-Specific Issues: A panel comprised of representatives from the four science divisions in NASA SMD who are the primary recipients of the decadal surveys, and one panelist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;
3. Panel on Decadal Survey Program Formulation: A panel comprised of members from past decadal survey committees who discussed how the various communities came up with their framework of activities to prioritize, among other more general components of the decadal survey process;
4. Panel on Decadal Survey Program Formulation: The Role of Cost Estimation, Technical Evaluation, and Budget Projections in Prioritizing Missions: A panel comprised of members from past decadal survey committees who discussed how missions were costed and evaluated from a technical standpoint, which is handled through the cost and technical evaluation (CATE) process, and the effect of the CATE process on mission prioritization;
5. Panel on How to Plan for High-Profile Missions: A panel comprised of members from past decadal survey committees who discussed the role that high profile, a.k.a. flagship, missions play in decadal surveys and overall Earth and space science program strategies;
6. Panel on Incorporating International Perspectives into Future Decadal Planning: A panel comprised of representatives from international space agencies or organizations, including the U.S., who discussed ways to improve coordination with and solicit input from international stakeholders during the decadal survey process, among other issues;
7. Panel on Decadal Survey Stewardship: The Role of the Mid-decade Reviews and Standing Committees: A panel comprised of former decadal survey committees members and present-day standing committee members who discussed whom is responsible for stewarding the decadal surveys once they are released and how to ensure that the surveys are properly implemented.
The workshop consisted, by and large, of panelist discussions and audience question and answer sessions with the panelists. Although moderators and panelists did provide individual introductory remarks at the beginning of each session, the only formal presentations were from Lennard Fisk (historical overview of the decadal surveys), John Grunsfeld (NASA’s perspective on the decadal surveys) and Michael Moloney (overviews of the decadal survey processes).4 Most, but not all, of the panels conducted conference calls to identify and discuss the most important issues they wished to raise during the workshop. In addition, some panels held last-minute caucuses on the margins of the workshop to ensure that important issues raised by prior panels were adequately addressed.
The overall goal of the workshop was to foster a dialog between all stakeholders to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the decadal survey process and how to improve it, with an eye towards maintaining the decadal survey’s integrity, objectivity, and quality. The workshop featured lively interactions between panelists and other participants, and the overall event was expertly summed up in concluding remarks on the second day by Charles Kennel (see Chapter 10).
Major themes throughout the workshop included budgetary and policy uncertainty for the nation’s space exploration enterprise; how to improve community engagement before, during, and after the decadal survey process; how to improve the [mission] cost assessment and technical evaluation (CATE) process; what balance to strike between science goals and specific mission recommendations; the current advisory apparatus for the government’s Earth and space science activities; and how to foster a better understanding of how sponsors and other stakeholders interpret and use the decadal surveys.
3 The workshop agenda is provided in Appendix A.
4 The charts that were used in these presentations can be found in Chapter 5, “Decadal Survey Program Formulation and Opportunities for Improvement.”
This summary has been prepared by the workshop rapporteurs as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. The planning committee’s role was limited to planning and convening the workshop. The views contained in the report are those of individual workshop participants and do not necessarily represent the views of all workshop participants, the planning committee, or the National Research Council. This summary was written using video recordings of the entire workshop proceedings. Speakers attributed in this summary were not asked to review the workshop summary before its release.
This workshop summary has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the summary meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. 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 review of this summary:
George Paulikas, The Aerospace Corporation (retired),
Marcia Rieke, University of Arizona,
Kunio Sayanagi, Hampton University,
Marcia Smith, Space and Technology Policy Group, LLC, and
Warren Washington, National Center for Atmospheric Research.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they did not see the final draft of the workshop summary before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Kenneth Kellermann, National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authors and the institution.