In 2017, the Space Studies Board (SSB) held one forum, completed work on the publication from one workshop and held observer status on two steering groups for European initiatives. These activities do not result in the provision of advice and, therefore, are not governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, Section 15.
The Forum for New Leaders in Space Science is a cooperative activity between the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and is designed to provide opportunities for a highly select group of young space scientists from China and the United States to discuss their research activities in an intimate and collegial environment. The third cohort of participants, representing the life- and physical-science research communities held the second of their two scheduled meetings at the National Academies’ J. Erik Jonsson Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, on May 16-17, 2017.
The SSB successfully applied for and received funding from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Presidents’ Committee to permit the recruitment of a fourth cohort of young U.S. and Chinese scientists. Details were finalized with CAS during the forum in Woods Hole call for the recruitment of a fourth cohort from the astrophysics and heliophysics communities during the third quarter of 2017. The fourth cohort will meet in Guangzhou in southern China on January 23-24, 2018 and in Pasadena, California, on July 12-13, 2018 (i.e., immediately prior to the July 14-21, 2018 COSPAR Scientific Assembly. Additional details concerning this activity is available at sites.nationalacademies.org/SSB/SSB_086017.
New Leaders in Space Science—Sixth Forum
Allison Anderson, Dartmouth College
Richard J. Barker, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Xi Chen, Wuhan Institute of Physics and Mathematics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Torin K. Clark, University of Colorado, Boulder
Kristopher G. Klein, University of Michigan
Xiaohua Lei, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Ting Li, California Institute of Technology
Heather D. Smith, NASA Ames Research Center
Wei Wang, Dalian Maritime University
Bo Zhang, Hefei University of Technology
Lei Zhao, Dalian Maritime University
Mingqi Zhou, University of Florida
Senior Participants—Sixth Forum
Mark Abbott, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Dava Newman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mingxiang Pan, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
James Pawelczyk, Pennsylvania State University
Peter Voorhees, Northwestern University
Ji Wu, National Space Science Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences
David Smith, Senior Program Officer, SSB
Anesia Wilks, Senior Program Assistant, SSB
Planetary Protection of the Outer Solar System (PPOSS), a 3-year activity funded via the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 funding program and organized by the European Science Foundation (ESF), was formally initiated in January 2016, and is designed to address a series of closely related topics in the general area of planetary protection for the icy bodies of the outer solar system. Although the National Academies’ is not formally involved in this project, the Space Studies Board has observer status on the PPOSS steering group and has agreed, with NASA’s concurrence, to sponsor the participation of two U.S. experts in activities associated with Work-Package 3 and 5. To this end, ESF selected Geoffrey Collins (Wheaton College) and Mark Saunders (NASA Langley Research Center, retired) as their preferred participants from a list of candidates drafted by the SSB staff. Both Dr. Collins and Mr. Saunders are participating in their own recognizance as scientific and technical experts and their work and that of PPOSS is not officially endorsed by the SSB or the National Academies.
The PPOSS group addressing the activities of Work-Package 3—a document identifying current scientific and technical research issues relating to planetary protection for objects in the outer solar system—commenced work at a pair of back-to-back meetings at the German Aerospace Center in Cologne on January 23-27, 2017. Work on this activity continues at a meeting held in Florence, Italy, on 10-12 April. The last formal meeting associated with Work-Package 3—an activity to identifying current scientific and technical research issues relating to planetary protection for objects in the outer solar system—was held in Florence, Italy, on April 10-12, 2017. Activities associated with Work-Package 5—a review of the current planetary protection regulation structure for the icy bodies of the outer solar system—will commence at a meeting to be held in London on February 7-9, 2018.
Additional information about PPOSS is available at http://pposs.org/.
Science Strategy for Space Exploration of the Outer Solar System Icy Moons Oceans (ExoOceans) is a European activity to review and synthesize the current status of astrobiological knowledge about the outer solar system with particular emphasis on the icy satellites of the giant planets. The ExoOceans group is a cooperative venture between the European Space Science Committee, the European Marine Board, and the International Space Science Institute (ISSI). The Space Studies Board is not formally involved in this activity but has agreed, with NASA’s concurrence, to fund the participation of two US scientists in ExoOceans activities. The relevant U.S. participants are Christopher House (Pennsylvania State University) and Alexander Hayes (Cornell University).
The ExOceans group held the first of its three planned meetings at Observatoire de Paris on November 13-14, 2017. The ExoOceans group will hold meetings in Bern, Switzerland in June and September 2018. The outcome of this activity will be a book in the ISSI Space Science Series, published by Springer.
The workshop, Searching for Life Across Space and Time, was held on December 5-6 at the Academies’ Beckman Center in Irvine, California. A complete draft of the workshop’s proceedings was assembled during the first quarter of 2017 and sent to external reviewer on April 28. The publication was released in September. The proceedings is available at www.nap.edu/catalog/24860/searching-for-life-across-spaceand-time-proceedings-of-a.
On April 26, James Kasting, the chair of the workshop’s organizing committee, testified before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, during the hearing, Advances in the Search for Life. Dr. Kasting’s testimony and that of the other witnesses, is available, together with recorded video, at science.house.gov/ legislation/hearings/full-committee-hearing-advances-search-life.
Planning Committee Membership
James F. Kasting, Pennsylvania State University (chair)
William Bains, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Tanja Bosak, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Irene A. Chen, University of California, Santa Barbara
Kevin Hand, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Christopher H. House, Pennsylvania State University
Victoria S. Meadows, University of Washington
Philip M. Neches, Teradata Corporation
Nilton O. Renno, University of Michigan
Gary Ruvkun, Massachusetts General Hospital
Nita Sahai, University of Akron
Dimitar Sasselov, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Mark H. Thiemens, University of California, San Diego
Margaret Turnbull, SETI Institute
David Smith, Senior Program Officer
Mia Brown, Research Associate (from December 2016)
Katie Daud, Research Associate (through December 2016)
Dionna Wise, Program Coordinator