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Suggested Citation:"Findings." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Report Series: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics: Mission Concept Studies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25212.
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that Astro2020 may receive inputs from probe-class mission studies that were not included in the group of 10 funded by NASA.

The CAA met in conjunction with Space Studies Week 2018 in Washington, D.C., on March 27-29, 2018, and at this meeting, the CAA discussed whether the information that is likely to be delivered to Astro2020 would be adequate. In advance of that meeting, the CAA discussed the task with NASA in a teleconference on February 26, 2018. NASA had routinely presented the planning and implementation of the mission concept development efforts to the CAA at prior meetings. Further details were made available to the CAA prior to the February teleconference. The CAA also examined the request for information (RFI) to projects by the 2010 decadal survey CATE process and consulted with survey committee and panel members at the March CAA meeting about the relative importance of these items for the decadal survey. Table 1 summarizes the experience that CAA members bring from serving on previous decadal surveys, which informed the discussion. In addition, during the March CAA meeting, the CAA had a teleconference with Steven Battel, Battel Engineering, Inc., who served on the Astro2010 survey committee and played a key role in devising the CATE process.

TABLE 1 Decadal Survey Service of Members of the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics

CAA Member Decadal Survey Service
Marcia Rieke Astro2010 Program Prioritization Vice Chair
Steven Ritz Astro2010 Committee Member
A. Thomas Young Astro2010 Committee Member, PPP Oversight Subcommittee
Lee Hartmann Astro2010 Chair of Planetary Systems and Star Formation Panel
Eric Wilcots Astro2010 Member of Galaxies Across Cosmic Time Panel
Megan Donahue Astro2010 Member of Electromagnetic Observations from Space Panel
Thomas Greene Astro2010 Member of Electromagnetic Observations from Space Panel
Bruce Macintosh Astro2010 Member of Optical and IR Astronomy from Ground Panel
Angela Olinto Astro2010 Member of Particle Astrophysics and Gravitation Panel
Christopher McKee 2001 Decadal Survey Co-Chair

Findings

The CAA commends NASA for its sustained and well-considered efforts to prepare the needed project information for the next decadal survey. As described above, the process was open and had wide community participation. Based on the information presented and the trajectory of the activities, the outcomes of these activities should provide a sound basis for the Astro2020’s evaluation.

Findings that could help improve the value to Astro2020:

1. It would be helpful if each of the concept reports clearly shows the key mission requirements, which is derived from the science drivers and how they affected the design. This could include, for example, a science traceability matrix.

Suggested Citation:"Findings." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Report Series: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics: Mission Concept Studies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25212.
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2. Astro2010 did not request information on possible descopes. The lack of this information hindered discussions. For Astro2020, mission concept studies could include possible descope and upgrade options and the science impact of such changes. Estimates of cost changes could be included. Implicit in this suggestion is the related suggestion that mission capabilities be prioritized.

3. Enumeration and evaluation of the risks are essential inputs to the decadal survey. These design and costing exercises present opportunities for mission concept teams to learn how to communicate risks effectively to the decadal survey.

4. NASA’s process of reviewing mission concept study reports before submission to the decadal survey will avoid problems associated with study reports providing dissimilar levels of detail and would help ensure a clear basis of comparison by the decadal survey. The prescribed format for the probe final reports could be adapted for the large missions as well.

5. The probe and large mission studies are being done somewhat differently, with the large missions having more time, resources, and possibly more opportunities to optimize the design. Based on experience in the previous decadal survey, it will be important to check that the probes have optimized the design and the presentation of the information, to the extent practical, given available resources.

6. Mission concept teams that did not participate in this preparatory process may still submit their concepts to the decadal survey. Substantial changes from the open submission policies followed by Astro2010 are not anticipated.

7. Probes have clear guidance about cost caps. Large mission studies are less constrained and have been instructed by NASA to give a range of performance and cost points. This guidance to the large missions about affordability and further guidance about NASA’s anticipated budgets will help align the results to the needs of the survey, which will also be given information from NASA about its anticipated budgets.

Suggested Citation:"Findings." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Report Series: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics: Mission Concept Studies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25212.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Findings." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Report Series: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics: Mission Concept Studies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25212.
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Suggested Citation:"Findings." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Report Series: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics: Mission Concept Studies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25212.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Findings." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Report Series: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics: Mission Concept Studies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25212.
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The Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA) is tasked with monitoring the progress of the recommended priorities of the astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and providing an independent, authoritative forum for identifying and discussing issues in astronomy and astrophysics between the research community, the federal government, and the interested public. This publication reviews NASA’s plans for delivering mission concept studies (large and medium) to the Decadal Survey Committee. The CAA assessed the appropriateness of NASA’s plans and provided findings for the purpose of improving the value of NASA’s preparations to the Decadal Survey Committee.

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