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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Restructured Research and Analysis Programs of NASA's Planetary Science Division. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24759.
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A

Statement of Task

The Space Studies Board will convene an ad hoc committee to examine the program elements of NASA’s Planetary Science Division (PSD) Research and Analysis (R&A) programs, as they currently exist following restructuring, for their consistency with past advice from the Academies. In conducting its review, the committee will address the following questions:

  1. Are the PSD R&A program elements appropriately linked to, and do they encompass the range and scope of activities needed to support the NASA strategic objective for planetary science and the Planetary Science Division science goals, as articulated in the 2014 NASA Science Plan?
  2. Are the PSD R&A program elements appropriately structured to develop the broad base of knowledge and broad range of activities needed both to enable new spaceflight missions and to interpret and maximize the scientific return from existing missions?

In conducting its task, the committee will

  • Not examine the PSD R&A programs as they were prior to the restructuring;
  • Conduct its review in the context of current budgetary realities that have differed from projections assumed prior to the release of the most recent planetary science decadal survey; and
  • Not comment on the strategic science goals and objectives of PSD, SMD, or NASA.
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Restructured Research and Analysis Programs of NASA's Planetary Science Division. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24759.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Restructured Research and Analysis Programs of NASA's Planetary Science Division. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24759.
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Page 43
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Restructured Research and Analysis Programs of NASA's Planetary Science Division. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24759.
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Page 44
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The Research and Analysis (R&A) program managed by NASA’s Planetary Science Division (PSD), supports a broad range of planetary science activities, including the analysis of data from past and current spacecraft; laboratory research; theoretical, modeling, and computational studies; geological and astrobiological fieldwork in planetary analog environments on Earth; geological mapping of planetary bodies; analysis of data from Earth- and space-based telescopes; and development of flight instruments and technology needed for future planetary science missions. The primary role of the PSD R&A program is to address NASA’s strategic objective for planetary science and PSD’s science goals.

Recently, PSD reorganized the R&A program to provide better alignment with the strategic goals for planetary sciences. The major changes in the R&A program involved consolidating a number of prior program elements, many of which were organized by subdiscipline, into a smaller number of thematic core research program elements. Despite numerous efforts by PSD to communicate the rationale for the reorganization and articulate clearly the new processes, there has been significant resistance from the planetary science community and concerns in some sectors regarding the major realignment of funding priorities.

Review of NASA’s Planetary Science Division’s Restructured Research and Analysis Programs examines the new R&A program and determines if it appropriately aligns with the agency’s strategic goals, supports existing flight programs, and enables future missions. This report explores whether any specific research areas or subdisciplinary groups that are critical to NASA’s strategic objectives for planetary science and PSD’s science goals are not supported appropriately in the current program or have been inadvertently disenfranchised through the reorganization.

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