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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Report Findings." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Progress Toward Implementation of the 2013 Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics: A Midterm Assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25668.
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D

Report Findings

Section Finding
3.2 F3.1: Completion of the program of record as recommended in the decadal survey, combined with new tools and data analysis approaches, has resulted in significant scientific advances (see Chapter 2) and has added important elements to the Heliophysics System Observatory.
3.3.1 F3.2: CubeSat missions are intended to be low-cost, higher-risk exploratory missions. The number of CubeSat science missions has increased significantly in this decade. While recognizing the challenge of managing a rapidly increasing number of CubeSat projects, NASA will need to ensure that managerial oversight does not translate into the imposition of additional reviews and reporting requirements to the level of larger missions.
3.3.1 F3.3: NSF’s CubeSat Program had no new solicitations between 2015-2018 and has not received a significant augmentation. However, the new CubeSat Ideas Lab initiative, if continued, will reinstate the program to the level that was recommended in the decadal survey.
3.3.1 F3.4: NASA and NSF have provided a number of opportunities for the science community to add to the array of diverse observing platforms that enable Heliophysics science, including a robust and growing NASA CubeSat program, continuation of a strong suborbital program, and creation of a NSF Midscale facilities program.
3.3.2 F3.5: A plan exists to support NSO’s synoptic observations in the short term. The long-term plan past 2021 for supporting these synoptic observations is unclear. To address this would require immediate attention.
3.3.2 F3.6: The scientific success of DKIST will depend on Level 2 and higher data processing. The Committee is concerned that provision of robust Level 2 data products to the user community is not part of steady state operations planning and no resources have been allocated by NSF for Level 2 data products and their development past 2020.
3.3.2 F3.7: DKIST is the flagship observatory of NSF solar astronomy. DKIST funding past 2020 supports primarily DKIST operations and its data center, but with limited support for research. Substantial research funding, of more than $5M per year, from NSF needs to be available in anticipation of the number of science proposals that will be submitted. Coordinated efforts that use DKIST along with NASA, ESA, and JAXA mission data will lead to scientific breakthroughs, requiring adequate support.
3.3.2 F3.8: The Operations and Maintenance model for NSF’s large facilities has had significant impacts on the AGS and AST budgets.
3.3.2 F3.9: A model similar to the Participating Scientist program used in the Planetary Division would contribute to realizing the scientific potential of Heliophysics missions by ensuring broad and diverse community participation.
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Report Findings." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Progress Toward Implementation of the 2013 Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics: A Midterm Assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25668.
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Section Finding
3.3.2 F3.10: A modern data infrastructure, support for the development of software tools, education about data science methods, and interdisciplinary collaboration are needed to realize the scientific potential of the large and complex data sets being produced today.
3.3.3 F3.11: Laboratory research, from plasma physics to spectroscopy, is a critical, foundational component for heliophysics research. The NASA LNAPP program is a positive step towards increasing opportunities for laboratory experiments, but it does not fully address the decadal survey recommendation, specifically the need for increased NASA-DOE collaboration.
3.3.3 F3.12: The placement of solar and space physics in multiple divisions and directorates arises from the cross-cutting relevance of the science. However, there are very few cross-divisional funding opportunities at the agencies. This makes it difficult for proposers to obtain funding for basic research on subjects that are not clearly aligned with one division. Proposals that cross divisional lines also pose significant challenges to agencies and review panels.
3.3.3 F3.13: Diverse observing platforms continue to produce important scientific results and augment the capabilities of larger facilities. The opportunities for maximizing the use of diverse platforms and combining their measurements have not been fully exploited; further opportunities exist to leverage international collaboration and combine measurements from space-based and ground-based platforms.
3.3.3 F3.14: Many elements of the HSO are aging and there is a risk of losing key capabilities. In order to realize the vision of the HSO, some longer-term strategic planning is required to prioritize the critical support needed at both the mission level and the program level. Moreover, the HSO can be viewed as a National resource that goes beyond NASA missions. Data from small missions, ground-based facilities, and international assets have become increasingly important. An opportunity exists to elevate the HSO concept to better manage and exploit this critical resource for scientific progress.
3.3.3 F3.15: Heliophysics has much to contribute to areas of broad interest within NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD), including stellar system and exoplanet research as well as future major exploratory efforts; for example, the Lunar Gateway missions. However, the expertise and knowledge that exists within the Heliophysics community is not as widely exploited at SMD as it could be because there are insufficient opportunities to engage across division lines.
3.3.4 F3.16: A regular cadence for HSCs is needed. In order for HSCs to be impactful, the next call for Step-1 proposals should be released within a year of the down selection for Step-2 proposals. Moreover, NSF participation in the HSCs has not been realized.
3.3.5 F3.17: NSF and NASA have responded positively to this graduate student training recommendation. The CISM summer school, now the Boulder Space Weather Summer School, has been funded by the NSF. In addition, NASA has continued to fund the Heliophysics Summer School. The former has a focus on beginning students and modeling of space weather, while the latter is more targeted to basic research science for advanced graduate students and post-doctoral researchers. These activities provide an outstanding resource to a community in which heliophysics graduate students in a given department are often few in number and specialized courses in the discipline are not feasible.
3.3.5 F3.18: Advances in the capability of Open Source Software (OSS) and the related heliophysics tool sets are not often covered in undergraduate and graduate education. Training the next generation in software best practices enables robust and maintainable code.
3.3.6 F3.19: DRIVE is an organizational framework that encourages innovation and balance across NASA and NSF R&A programs, thus maximizing the science return of Agency investments. In the future, DRIVE may include new elements or augmentations that go beyond the limited number of recommendations made in the decadal survey. It is essential to continue tracking and making visible the elements of DRIVE.
3.3.6 F3.20: NASA and NSF have made progress on most of their DRIVE elements, although some of the DRIVE elements were implemented only recently. Funding constraints imposed by the decadal survey requirement to complete the current program are a contributing factor.
3.3.6 F3.21: Some elements of DRIVE for NSF have not been fully implemented. These include ensuring funding for science areas that fall between divisions such as outer heliosphere research, full participation in Heliophysics Science Centers, and recognition of solar and space physics as a subdiscipline in the annual survey of earned doctorates.
3.4 F3.22: NASA is responding positively to the decadal survey recommendation to strengthen the Explorers program. Although no Explorers AOs were released during the first 3 years following the decadal survey, the 3-year spacing between Heliophysics Explorers AOs for SMEX and MIDEX of 2016 and 2019 is a move to implement the decadal survey recommendation.
3.4 F3.23: The committee sees the growth of mission cost in a relatively flat budget setting as a significant hazard to the ability to sustain a 3-year cadence in the future.
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Report Findings." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Progress Toward Implementation of the 2013 Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics: A Midterm Assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25668.
×
Section Finding
3.4 F3.24: NASA management of the Explorers missions is in need of optimization to ensure that the program fullfils its goal to:“… provide frequent flight opportunities …. from space utilizing innovative, streamlined and efficient management approaches…”
3.4 F3.25: In order to maintain the decadal survey-recommended 3-year (or ideally faster) launch frequency of Explorers, NASA will need to develop a more efficient management environment and an improved contract/grant structure, both to reduce mission cost and to shorten the interval from AO to launch
3.5 F3.26: Formulation of the first of three recommended STP missions has begun, but IMAP comes 3 years later than anticipated in the decadal survey, and the next STP mission (DYNAMIC) has not started. As anticipated in the decadal survey, the MEDICI mission is not expected to start until the next decade.
3.5 F3.27: The DYNAMIC science goals remain compelling and of high priority for the heliophysics community. The targeted science goals and measurement capabilities of GOLD, AWE, and ICON do not address several key objectives in the top-level decadal survey science challenge posed by DYNAMIC.
3.6 F3.28: The GDC STDT, per their charge, was not permitted by Federal Advisory Committte Act (FACA) regulations to select a particular mission architecture to meet GDC science objectives.
4.1 F4.1: The NASA Space Weather Science and Application (SWxSA) strategic documents are an excellent start to address the NSWSAP goals and responsibilities identified for NASA Heliophysics Division. However, these documents do not “identify new research-based capabilities and outline expectations for gap-filling products”. The Committee emphasizes the importance of a science gap analysis in order to develop implementation plans, interagency coordination, and budgets. NASA and NSF, in coordination with their research communities, and in consultation with NOAA, are best positioned to develop a scientific gap analysis to address the scientific and observational challenges that currently hamper the formulation of reliable space weather forecasts for time scales from several hours to a few days.
4.1 F4.2: Stable funding lines were not identified for the work defined in the NSWSAP. The development of a scientific gap analysis, and an associated prioritization of required observables, models, data systems, and R2O/O2R projects are needed in order to develop a well-founded budget for the NSWSAP-related tasks of NASA, NSF, NOAA, and other agencies.
4.2.2 F4.3: Currently, the combination of ACE and DISCOVR in-situ particle and field measurements at L1, the GOES solar EUV imager and solar EUV and X-ray irradiance sensors at GEO, the ground-based GONG network for solar magnetograms, and the SOHO LASCO coronagraph at L1 provide the primary set of space weather monitoring assets, with support from SDO solar observations at GEO and STEREO solar and in-situ observations in an Earth trailing/leading orbit. NOAA has plans to continue in-situ solar wind observations at L1, to establish new coronagraph observations at L1 and at GEO, and to continue their support of solar magnetograms in the GONG network.
4.2.3 F4.4: NASA and NOAA are conducting a dialogue with ESA regarding participation in the Lagrange operational mission to the L5 location. NOAA is developing a formal agreement with ESA for their L5 mission, but no agreements are yet in place for NASA. Additional observations, platforms, and locations are informally discussed as a part of the ongoing agency and community interactions and communications relevant to the NSWSAP. Coordination with India and China could further enhance space weather observations at the L1, L4, and L5 locations.
4.2.4 F4.5: The decadal survey did not address the specific contributions of the primary agencies (NASA, NSF, NOAA, DoD) to the National Space Weather Program. In particular, the role of research targeting the magnetosphere, ionosphere, and thermosphere was not represented in the decadal survey at a level commensurate with current NSWSAP priorities. The NOAA/NASA/NSF support for O2R/R2O efforts is evolving with the majority of this research being planned in FY 2020 under the NASA Heliophysics Division’s new program called Space Weather Science and Applications (SWxSA).
4.2.4 F4.6 The minimum observation requirements and baseline research infrastructure need to be defined by drawing on space weather O2R/R2O activities at NSF and NASA. Ongoing space weather benchmark activities are a step in this direction.
4.2.4 F4.7: The agencies can take advantage of commercial, interagency, and inter-divisional collaborations to make progress toward their space weather goals. To assure that this happens effectively, open data policies and standardized data interfaces need to be established. Inputs from the science community are critical for assessing how useful the commercial data are and assuring that the right data are accessible (and not merely higher level derived products).
5.1 F5.1: The effectiveness of grants issued by NSF and NASA for research in solar and space physics would be improved by:
— Shortening the cycle from proposal to funding availability. In some programs, and especially for younger scientists and postdocs, the cycle is too long.
— Adjusting the size of grants. Typical grants, while they have grown in size, are often too small or short-term to tackle the larger challenges. Larger grants may be more effective for some programs. On the other hand, smaller grants or “seed grants”, with smaller proposals, quicker reviews, and shorter funding cycles could invigorate new research directions and could be more supportive of early-career scientists.
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Report Findings." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Progress Toward Implementation of the 2013 Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics: A Midterm Assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25668.
×
Section Finding
5.2 F5.2: The NSF and NASA on-going education programs involving heliophysics summer schools, REU programs, and student workshops offer opportunities for exposing undergraduates to space physics research, as well as hands-on training. There is great potential for the heliophysics community to significantly expand their involvement of undergraduate students by having more heliophysics-related REU programs.
5.2 F5.3: The infrastructure of large data archives and advanced numerical research and analysis tools is a critical element of modern-day science. Professional training about these rapidly evolving tools and modeling techniques is important for the health of the heliophysics research programs. The development and maintenance of such tools is given insufficient attention in the development of roadmaps and strategic plans. These infrastructure components, and the teaching of their use, could be discussed on an equal footing with experimental hardware in the planning and budgeting of space- and ground-based observatories.
5.2 F5.4: Involving students in the development of spaceflight hardware for missions is key to the long-term success of developing the workforce for the U.S. space programs. Enhancing the number of partnerships between universities and non-University institutions and further increases in the number and frequency of small satellite missions are example pathways to train more students and early-career scientists and engineers for space missions.
5.3 F5.5: Increasing the participation and inclusion of individuals of different genders, races, cultures, and ages in positions of leadership roles in heliophysics (e.g., mission PIs) and for recognition (e.g., honors, awards) would better reflect today’s societal makeup. It has been shown that women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields face consistent bias in proposal selections, hiring, salaries, observing time awards, paper citations, and prizes / awards. It is critical to better track the demographics of the heliophysics community in order to assess the effectiveness of programs that seek to increase the diversity of its membership.
6.1 F6.1: Community analysis group workshops and funded mission concept development for defining critical science goals and related mission concepts as employed by NASA’s Planetary Science Division and Astrophysics Division in preparation for their decadal surveys have been productive for broader and deeper definitions of strategic mission concepts based on key science objectives and any emerging technology important for future missions. This midterm assessment committee emphasizes that the science objectives and related measurement requirements are more important to define than specific missions / facilities.
6.1 F6.2: The NSF Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure (RI) opportunity is highly competitive; since proposals are competed across all NSF divisions, the selection rate is expected to be low. The NSF AGS (Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences) and AST (Astronomical Sciences) divisions could improve their chance of selection within the NSF-wide Mid-Scale RI program if they strategically planned and prioritized a few key RI concepts that have broad community support.
6.1 F6.3: The demographics and diversity of scientists and engineers in heliophysics may have evolved significantly since the 2013 heliophysics decadal survey. A new demographics / diversity survey would clarify those changes over the past few years, and results from such a survey could enlighten planning for improving diversity in the heliophysics community.
6.1 F6.4: The demographics survey for the last decadal survey was completed late in the study, limiting its utility. It is important that an updated demographics survey be available in advance of the initiation of the next decadal survey.
6.2 F6.5: The next decadal survey committee may want to consider how to best distinguish the NASA Heliophysics LWS and STP strategic mission lines, both in terms of critical science goals and implementation strategies. Without distinct goals for these two programs, there is a risk to limit effective planning for larger strategic missions.
6.2 F6.6: To mitigate the risk of decadal survey recommendations being regarded as difficult or not possible to implement in the next decade period, each agency needs to ensure that the budget 10-year plan is as accurate, up-to-date, and complete as possible throughout the course of the survey’s work. It can benefit strategic planning if future budget scenarios included a nominal (baseline) budget and optimal (best-case) budget. The two-budget approach can allow for defining clear decision rules for reprioritizing under each scenario.
6.2 F6.7: The next decadal survey could benefit by having decision rules for large programs/missions as was done in the 2013 heliophysics decadal survey.
6.2 F6.8: For next decadal survey discussions about stretch-goal science objectives and related missions, it will be important to identify what technologies are required for those stretch-goal missions and to consider actions that could develop such technology in the next decade.
6.2 F6.9: It is critically important for future planning of space weather applications to have NOAA better integrated into the space weather related strategic plans for the next decade.
6.3 F6.10: The next heliophysics decadal survey committee should consider the following important topics….see list in Chapter 6.
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Report Findings." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Progress Toward Implementation of the 2013 Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics: A Midterm Assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25668.
×
Page 139
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Report Findings." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Progress Toward Implementation of the 2013 Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics: A Midterm Assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25668.
×
Page 140
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Report Findings." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Progress Toward Implementation of the 2013 Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics: A Midterm Assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25668.
×
Page 141
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Report Findings." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Progress Toward Implementation of the 2013 Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics: A Midterm Assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25668.
×
Page 142
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The 2013 report Solar and Space Physics; A Science for a Technological Society outlined a program of basic and applied research for the period 2013-2022. This publication describes the most significant scientific discoveries, technical advances, and relevant programmatic changes in solar and space physics since the publication of that decadal survey. Progress Toward Implementation of the 2013 Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics assesses the degree to which the programs of the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration address the strategies, goals, and priorities outlined in the 2013 decadal survey, and the progress that has been made in meeting those goals. This report additionally considers steps to enhance career opportunities in solar and space physics and recommends actions that should be undertaken to prepare for the next decadal survey.

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