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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
×

A MIDTERM ASSESSMENT OF
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECADAL SURVEY ON
LIFE AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH AT NASA

Committee on a Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey
on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

Space Studies Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

A Consensus Study Report of

images

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, DC
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
×

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This activity was supported by Contract NNH16CE01B with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-46900-5
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/24966.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
×

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Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
×

COMMITTEE ON A MIDTERM ASSESSMENT OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECADAL SURVEY ON LIFE AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH AT NASA

DANIEL L. DUMBACHER, Purdue University, Co-Chair

ROBERT J. FERL, University of Florida, Co-Chair

REZA ABBASCHIAN, University of California, Riverside

ALAN R. HARGENS, University of California, San Diego

YIGUANG JU, Princeton University

DOMINIQUE LANGEVIN, Laboratoire de Physique des Solides of the University Paris Sud

GLORIA R. LEON, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

W. CARL LINEBERGER, NAS,1 University of Colorado, Boulder

ELLIOT M. MEYEROWITZ, NAS, California Institute of Technology

TODD J. MOSHER, Syncroness, Inc.

ELAINE S. ORAN, NAE,2 University of Maryland3

JAMES A. PAWELCZYK, The Pennsylvania State University

JAMES T’IEN, Case Western Reserve University

MARK M. WEISLOGEL, Portland State University

GAYLE E. WOLOSCHAK, Northwestern University

Consultant

LISELOTTE J. SCHIOLER, Schioler Consulting

Staff

SANDRA GRAHAM, Study Director

MARCHEL HOLLE, Research Associate

DIONNA J. WISE, Program Coordinator

MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director, Space Studies Board and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (through March 2, 2018)

___________________

1 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

2 Member, National Academy of Engineering.

3 Resigned April 21, 2017.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
×

SPACE STUDIES BOARD

FIONA HARRISON, NAS,1 California Institute of Technology, Chair

ROBERT D. BRAUN, NAE,2 University of Colorado, Boulder, Vice Chair

JAMES G. ANDERSON, NAS, Harvard University

JEFF M. BINGHAM, Consultant

JAY C. BUCKEY, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

ADAM S. BURROWS, NAS, Princeton University

MARY LYNNE DITTMAR, Dittmar Associates

JOSEPH FULLER, JR., Futron Corporation

THOMAS R. GAVIN, California Institute of Technology

SARAH GIBSON, National Center for Atmospheric Research

VICTORIA E. HAMILTON, Southwest Research Institute

ANTHONY C. JANETOS, Boston University

CHRYSSA KOUVELIOTOU, NAS, George Washington University

DENNIS P. LETTENMAIER, NAE, University of California, Los Angeles

ROSALY M. LOPES, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

DAVID J. McCOMAS, Princeton University

LARRY J. PAXTON, Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory

ELIOT QUATAERT, University of California, Berkeley

BARBARA SHERWOOD LOLLAR, University of Toronto

HARLAN E. SPENCE, University of New Hampshire

MARK H. THIEMENS, NAS, University of California, San Diego

EDWARD L. WRIGHT, NAS, University of California, Los Angeles

Staff

MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director (through March 2, 2018)

RICHARD ROWBERG, Interim Director (from March 5, 2018)

CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator

TANJA PILZAK, Manager, Program Operations

CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate

MEG A. KNEMEYER, Financial Officer

ANTHONY BRYANT, Senior Financial Assistant

___________________

1 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

2 Member, National Academy of Engineering.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
×

AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD

ALAN H. EPSTEIN, NAE,1 Pratt & Whitney, Chair

ELIZABETH R. CANTWELL, Arizona State University, Vice Chair

ARNOLD D. ALDRICH, Aerospace Consultant

BRIAN M. ARGROW, University of Colorado, Boulder

STEVEN J. BATTEL, NAE, Battel Engineering

MEYER J. BENZAKEIN, NAE, Ohio State University

BRIAN J. CANTWELL, NAE, Stanford University

EILEEN M. COLLINS, Space Presentations, LLC

MICHAEL P. DELANEY, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

KAREN FEIGH, Georgia Institute of Technology

NICHOLAS D. LAPPOS, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company

MARK J. LEWIS, IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute

VALERIE MANNING, Airbus

RICHARD McKINNEY, Consultant

PARVIZ MOIN, NAS2/NAE, Stanford University

JOHN M. OLSON, Polaris Industries

ROBIE I. SAMANTA ROY, Lockheed Martin Corporation

AGAM N. SINHA, ANS Aviation International, LLC

ALAN M. TITLE, NAS/NAE, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center

DAVID M. VAN WIE, NAE, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

IAN A. WAITZ, NAE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

SHERRIE L. ZACHARIUS, Aerospace Corporation

Staff

MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director (through March 2, 2018)

RICHARD ROWBERG, Interim Director (from March 5, 2018)

CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator

TANJA PILZAK, Manager, Program Operations

CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate

MEG A. KNEMEYER, Financial Officer

ANTHONY BRYANT, Senior Financial Assistant

___________________

1 Member, National Academy of Engineering.

2 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
×

Preface

The Committee on a Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA was charged to review the progress of NASA’s program in addressing the strategies, goals, and priorities outlined in the 2011 National Research Council (NRC) decadal survey report,1Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration, Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era.2 The committee’s complete statement of task is reprinted in Appendix A.

The tasks before the committee encompassed areas of science, science policy, and science implementation, which have been under extraordinary evolution since the publication of the Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration. To address both the tasks and the evolutions in the field, the committee held four in-person meetings and many teleconferences from January through December 2017. The committee heard extensively from the NASA Division of Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications (SLPSRA), the NASA Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), the NASA Office of the Chief Scientist, and the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). As part of the April 2017 meeting, a wide-ranging and interactive Community Input Symposium was held at a National Academy of Sciences building in Washington, D.C.

The committee witnessed the extensive work being done within SLPSRA and the broader International Space Station (ISS) research program, as well as within the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and international programs that impact the portfolio. This multipronged approach to science is in line with the general priority of the decadal survey, which was restoring and then maintaining a broad portfolio for space life and physical sciences, led by NASA. This resurgence in growth was extensively discussed by the committee within the bounds of the statement of task, and the scope of the statement of task was thoroughly examined by the committee in the extensive context of the entities now involved.

The discussions of the committee were also guided by the now rapid evolution of an increasingly commercial or private space “ecosystem.” This ecosystem already involves the use of commercial carriers to the ISS, and it also includes the potential further economic development of low Earth orbit (LEO) in a broader sense. This discussion is particularly relevant as NASA considers science in and around LEO during the period that will define NASA’s operational transition away from the ISS as its focus. Thus, the potential transition of ISS capabilities

___________________

1 Hereinafter also referred to as “the decadal survey” or “the 2011 decadal survey,” or “the 2011 decadal survey on space life and physical sciences.”

2 National Research Council, 2011, Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
×

toward the private sector and the focus of NASA more toward deep space had a dramatic impact on committee deliberations and recommendations.

The committee and the co-chairs thank the many very busy people at NASA, CASIS, in the larger U.S. government, and especially the members of the national and international community of space life and physical sciences, who helped the committee through presentations, written input, and discussions. Special thanks go to the staff of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board and the Space Studies Board. While the words of this report are those of the committee, the extraordinary expertise of the National Academies staff made the work of the committee possible, and their guidance consistently enabled the committee to pull informative data and reach enlightened conclusions. Without their support, this report would not have been possible.

Daniel L. Dumbacher and Robert J. Ferl, Co-Chairs

Committee on a Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
×

Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, 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 thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Susan A. Bloomfield, Texas A&M University,

Vijay K. Dhir, NAE,1 University of California, Los Angeles,

Mary Lynne Dittmar, Coalition for Deep Space Exploration,

Simon Gilroy, University of Wisconsin-Madison,

Elaine S. Oran, NAE, University of Maryland,

Lawrence A. Palinkas, University of Southern California,

Daniel J. Scheeres, NAS,2 University of Colorado, Boulder,

Peter B. Sunderland, University of Maryland,

Peter W. Voorhees, Northwestern University,

Erika B. Wagner, Blue Origin, LLC, and

Michael M. Weil, Colorado State University.

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Louis J. Lanzerotti, NAE, New Jersey Institute of Technology. He was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.

___________________

1 Member, National Academy of Engineering.

2 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
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Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
×
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
×

3 SCIENCE PROGRESS TOWARD THE GOALS AND PRIORITIES OF THE 2011 SPACE LIFE AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES DECADAL SURVEY

3.1 Plant and Microbiology

3.2 Behavior and Mental Health

3.3 Animal and Human Biology

3.4 Cross-Cutting Issues for Humans in the Space Environment

3.4.1 Cross-Cutting Issues Unrelated to Radiation Biology

3.4.2 Cross-Cutting Issues Related to Radiation Biology

3.4.3 Other Potential Risks

3.5 Fundamental Physical Sciences in Space

3.5.1 Soft Condensed Matter Physics and Complex Fluids

3.5.2 Precision Measurements of Fundamental Forces and Symmetries

3.5.3 Quantum Gases

3.5.4 Critical Phenomena

3.6 Applied Physics

3.6.1 Physical Science Informatics (Open-Access Database)

3.6.2 Fluid Physics

3.6.3 Combustion Research

3.6.4 Materials Research

3.7 Translation to Space Exploration Systems

3.8 Science Status in Light of Exploration Mission Development

4 PRIORITIZATIONS AND RANKINGS TO OPTIMIZE AND ENABLE THE EXPANSION OF DEEP SPACE HUMAN EXPLORATION

4.1 Targeting Decadal Survey Exploration Research Priorities

4.1.1 The Decadal Survey Approach to Organizing Priorities

4.1.2 Overarching Space Exploration Strategy

4.2 Criteria for Midterm Ranking of the High-Priority Recommendations for Exploration

4.3 Highest-Priority Recommendations for Exploration

4.4 Science Context for the Rankings

4.4.1 Plant Biology and Microbiology

4.4.2 Behavior and Mental Health

4.4.3 Animal and Human Biology

4.4.4 Cross-Cutting Issues for Humans in the Space Environment

4.4.5 Radiation Component of Cross-Cutting Decadal Survey Recommendations

4.4.6 Fundamental Physical Sciences in Space

4.4.7 Applied Physical Sciences in Space

4.4.8 Translation to Space Exploration Systems

4.5 Summary of Science and Top Priorities

5 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPLEMENTING THE DECADAL PORTFOLIO OVER REMAINING YEARS WITHIN CONSTRAINTS

5.1 Current Status and Challenges that Constrain Resources

5.1.1 Create Regular Requests for Research Proposal in Order to Enhance Science Capability

5.1.2 Maximize Use of Crew Time for Decadal Survey Research

5.1.3 Significantly Improve Research Result Reporting and Integration

5.1.4 Strengthen Relationships with Other Agencies and International Partners

5.2 Maximum Science Progress for the Next Decadal Survey

5.2.1 Traceability of Exploration Strategy to Research Priorities

5.2.2 Cross-Organizational Efforts

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24966.
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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.

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