National Academies Press: OpenBook

Report Series: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics: Small Explorer Missions (2017)

Chapter: Appendix B Queries to the Community

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Queries to the Community." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Report Series: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics: Small Explorer Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24808.
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Appendix B

Queries to the Community

QUESTIONNAIRE TO THE COMMUNITY

The committee issued a questionnaire to the community, which was posted on the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS’s) website and published in the AAS biweekly bulletin.1 The text of the questionnaire is reproduced below.

March 7, 2017

Dear Colleagues:

The NASA Astrophysics Division Director, Paul Hertz, is requesting that the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA, see http://sites.nationalacademies.org/BPA/BPA_048755 for more information), a committee of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine which advises the government on the national astronomy and astrophysics portfolio, provide advice about the following question:

Is there still sufficient compelling science in a Small Explorer-sized (SMEX) mission to justify a SMEX AO in 2018 or 2019? SMEX is defined by two things: (i) a cost cap (which was $125M in the 2014 AO), and (ii) the launch capability, which currently is Pegasus-class (note there are other small launch vehicles being developed that might compete with Pegasus in the future).

This is not a question about the value of Explorer missions, which is well understood and appreciated—rather, it is a question about SMEX-sized opportunities. The CAA will be discussing this question at its upcoming face-to-face meeting in March. We are writing to ask your brief input. In particular:

  1. If you have proposed in previous SMEX rounds, or are considering proposing in an upcoming round, do you see sufficient opportunities now, given the SMEX scope as currently defined?
  2. Which is more constraining, the cost cap or the launch capability? Why?
  3. Are there any specific, small modifications to the scope definition that would enable you and your team to propose a feasible mission?
  4. Is there anything else you think should be considered in answering this question?

Please send your input to bpa@nas.edu by Friday, March 24. Input should be in DOC, PDF, or TXT format. Please note that due to Federal Advisory Committee Act regulations all input must be made publicly available and will be attributed to the individual who sends the input.

Many thanks in advance for your help.

For the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics,

Marcia Rieke and Steve Ritz

CAA co-chairs

http://sites.nationalacademies.org/BPA/BPA_048755

___________________

1 The questionnaire can be found at https://aas.org/posts/news/2017/03/national-academies-committee-seeking-input-future-opportunities.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Queries to the Community." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Report Series: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics: Small Explorer Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24808.
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DIRECT REQUEST TO PAST AND PRESENT SMEX PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS

The same questionnaire was sent to past and present SMEX Principal Investigators (PIs). The text of the correspondence sent to the PIs is given below.

You are receiving this message because you were or are currently a PI of a SMEX mission. The NASA Astrophysics Division Director, Paul Hertz, is requesting that the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which advises the government on the national astronomy and astrophysics portfolio, provide advice about the following question:

“Is there still sufficient compelling science in a Small Explorer-sized (SMEX) mission to justify a SMEX Announcement of Opportunity (AO) in 2018 or 2019?”

SMEX is defined by two things (i) a cost cap (which was $125M in the 2014 AO), and (ii) the launch capability, which currently is Pegasus-class (note there are other small launch vehicles being developed that might compete with Pegasus in the future).

This is not a question about the value of Explorer missions, which is well understood and appreciated — rather, it is a question about SMEX-sized opportunities. The CAA will be discussing this question at its upcoming face-to-face meeting in March. We are writing to ask for your brief input. In particular:

-- If you have proposed in previous SMEX rounds, or are considering proposing in an upcoming round, do you see sufficient opportunities now, given the SMEX scope as currently defined
-- Which is more constraining, the cost cap or the launch capability Why
-- Are there any specific, small modifications to the scope definition that would enable you and your team to propose a feasible mission
-- Is there anything else you think should be considered in answering this question

Please send your input to me (dlang@nas.edu) by Monday, 27 March. Input should be in DOC, PDF, or TXT format. Please note that due to Federal Advisory Committee Act regulations all input must be made publicly available and will be attributed to the individual who sends the input.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Queries to the Community." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Report Series: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics: Small Explorer Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24808.
×
Page 6
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Queries to the Community." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Report Series: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics: Small Explorer Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24808.
×
Page 7
Next: Appendix C Input from NASA and the Community »
Report Series: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics: Small Explorer Missions Get This Book
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The 2010 astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey, New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, laid out an exciting portfolio of recommended activities to guide the agencies’ research programs over the period 2012-2021. The newly constituted Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA) is tasked with monitoring the progress of the survey’s recommended priorities.

The CAA met in conjunction with Space Science Week 2017 in Washington, D.C., on March 28- 30, 2017. This was the first meeting at which the CAA could produce a report, and in advance of that meeting, the CAA received a question from NASA about an upcoming Small Explorer (SMEX) mission call. This report addresses whether there may or may not be sufficient compelling science motivations for a SMEX-sized mission to justify a SMEX Announcement of Opportunity (AO) in 2018 or 2019 (as is currently planned).

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