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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Visions into Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022: A Midterm Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25186.
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A

Statement of Task

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine shall convene an ad hoc committee to review the response of NASA’s Planetary Science program to the 2011 decadal survey, Vision and Voyages for Planetary Sciences in the Decade 2013-2022 (V&V). The committee’s review will include the following tasks:

  • Describe the most significant scientific discoveries, technical advances, and relevant programmatic changes in planetary sciences over the years since the publication of the planetary decadal survey (Vision & Voyages or V&V);
  • Assess the degree to which NASA’s current planetary science program addresses the strategies, goals, and priorities outlined in the V&V and other relevant NRC and Academies reports and assess NASA progress toward realizing these strategies, goals, and priorities, and effectiveness in maintaining programmatic balance;
  • With respect to the Mars program within the planetary science program, the committee’s assessment will include:
    • The Planetary Science Division’s Mars exploration architecture and its responsiveness to the strategies, priorities, and guidelines put forward by the National Academies’ V&V and other relevant National Academies Mars-related reports;
    • The long-term goals of the Planetary Science Division’s Mars Exploration Program and the program’s ability to optimize the science return, given the current fiscal posture of the program;
    • The Mars exploration architecture’s relationship to Mars-related activities to be undertaken by foreign agencies and organizations; and
    • The extent to which the Mars exploration architecture represents a reasonably balanced mission portfolio.
  • Recommend any actions that could be taken to optimize the science value of the planetary science program including how to take into account emergent discoveries since the decadal in the context of current and forecasted resources available to it;
  • Provide guidance about implementation of the decadal’s recommended mission portfolio and decision rules for the remaining years of the current decadal survey, but do not revisit or redefine the scientific priorities or mission recommendations from the V&V; and
  • Recommend any actions that should be undertaken to prepare for the next decadal survey, such as community discussion of science goals, potential missions, and programmatic balance, and NASA support of potential mission concept studies.
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Visions into Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022: A Midterm Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25186.
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In spring 2011 the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine produced a report outlining the next decade in planetary sciences. That report, titled Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022, and popularly referred to as the “decadal survey,” has provided high-level prioritization and guidance for NASA’s Planetary Science Division. Other considerations, such as budget realities, congressional language in authorization and appropriations bills, administration requirements, and cross-division and cross-directorate requirements (notably in retiring risk or providing needed information for the human program) are also necessary inputs to how NASA develops its planetary science program.

In 2016 NASA asked the National Academies to undertake a study assessing NASA’s progress at meeting the objectives of the decadal survey. After the study was underway, Congress passed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017 which called for NASA to engage the National Academies in a review of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. NASA and the Academies agreed to incorporate that review into the midterm study. That study has produced this report, which serves as a midterm assessment and provides guidance on achieving the goals in the remaining years covered by the decadal survey as well as preparing for the next decadal survey, currently scheduled to begin in 2020.

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