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Meg Urry, CAA Co-Chair
Background & Issues
• CAA is standing sub-committee of SSB & BPA – BPA co-chair (CMU) and SSB co-chair (Chuck Bennett, replacing Roger Blandford)
• Overlapping roles of 3+ advisory committees
– CAA, AAAC, NAC/Astrophysics subcommittee, (MPSAC, HEPAP, …)
• Planning for next decadal survey • NRC Assessment of NASA Science Plan
Astronomy & Astrophysics Decadal Surveys
• • • • Nature Article (Sep 28, 2006) 5 previous surveys, starting 1960s “Gold Standard” for science prioritization Most recent, Astronomy & Astrophysics in the New Millenium
– Co-chairs Chris McKee, Joe Taylor – Considered projects in Large, Medium, Small categories – Prioritization within Large and Medium, across space and ground (but separable)
Progress of 2000 AANM
• Few recommendations will be done by 2010 • Greatly changed context
– Unanticipated fiscal constraints (economic downturn, rising budget deficit) – unrealistic budget assumptions – (9/11, new national priorities) – Cost growth/expense of major projects – NASA: Columbia accident + New Exploration Vision – NSF: Private/public cooperation needed (big projects) – DOE: Greater involvement A&A
• New science (Dark Energy) • Interface of physics & astronomy Quarks to the COSMOS study (collective Decadal advice)
• • • • • • • JWST GSMT Con X EVLA LSST TPF Tech Dev SAFIR
• • • • • • • • • • • • TSIP GLAST LISA ATST SKA Tech Dev Solar Dynam Obs Carma EXIST VERITAS ARISE FASR SPST
• Poor presentation of science story (compare AANM with Q2C)
– Science priorities vs. mission priorities
• • • • •
Long time scales, carry-over projects How to provide intra-decade advice Balance: no prioritization among small, medium, large (OMB) Field boundaries (solar, neutrinos, cosmic rays, planet,…) International aspect (collaboration or competition? planning,
phasing, partner obligations, …)
• Ground vs. space (make case for complementarity) • Experiments vs. Observatories (open/closed cultures) • Timing of next Decadal Survey
Planning for Next Decadal Survey
• Many good ideas out there
– CAA discussed with groups (AAAC) – Got input from agency people
• CAA preparing white paper to discuss with broader community
– Session at Seattle AAS meeting – Other (APS, DPS, …) – Broader involvement ab initio
(1) Timing of Next Decadal Survey
– – – – Little will be completed by 2010 NSF/NASA/DOE budgets oversubscribed Changed circumstances/science outlook New administration in January 2009 Requires: 2 years+ (proposal,create committee, meet, write, review, publish)
1) Start Spring 2007, release early-mid 2009 2) Defer next survey by 1 or more years
(2) Timing of subsequent surveys
• Should surveys be more frequent?
– Document to be tweaked and adjusted or – Monolithic answer to entire decade?
• Intra-decade maintenance?
– By standing committee (CAA role currently) – By advisory committees (used to work well…) – By survey committee (institutional memory)
(3) Breadth and Boundaries of Field
• (Very) interesting science at interfaces between fields. Examples:
– – – – – – – Astrobiology SETI Neutrinos (astrophysics, physics) Planetary exploration (in situ, remote) Dark matter (direct, indirect searches) Solar physics/astronomy Gravity
1) Use traditional boundaries 2) Embrace new areas of research (determine how?) 3) Use community input (AAS poll?) to set boundaries
(4) Panel Structure
• • • Previously, panels organized by wavelength New issue: need to put science first Options:
Use traditional wavelength/technique-based panels Organize panels by scientific question (e.g. dark energy, extrasolar planets, black holes) Use matrixed panel structure, with panelists serving on both technique- and science-based panels Do survey in two phases:
i. Science-based first phase, with panels organized by science, to articulate the key science questions, and ii. Technique-based second phase, to identify and prioritize missions/projects
• • • •
(5) Panel membership
• New: Outsiders on survey committee (e.g., EPP2010) – Cost/management experts – Policy people (former officials) – Scientists from other fields – Leaders in industrial/technology companies – International partners
1) Committee only astronomers/astrophysicists. 2) Committee chaired (or co-chaired) by “outsider” and/or include outsiders as members (#?)
(6) Engaging the Community
– Field is larger and more diverse than ever – Some segments felt disenfranchised/excluded from 2000 survey (NSF Senior Review)
1) 2) 3) 4) Solicit input in advance of survey (current CAA plan) Traditional approach: discussions at AAS+ meetings Add regional Town Meetings 2-phase report, with feedback on Phase 1 by community
(7) International community
– Projects larger, more expensive – Increasing activity in other nations – The world is flat
• • • Europe leading in ground-based astronomy? Korea, South Africa, India, China, entering game Collaboration preferred over competition
– – – Committee/panels include foreign members Committee appoints ex officio foreign members Committee receives briefings from foreign officials
(8) Integration of priorities
• Previous surveys had priority lists divided by cost and ground v. space • 2000 survey did integrate list wrt ground and space • Balance/cross-prioritization needed (OMB) • Options:
– – – – Priority list in cost bins (as before) Priorities by cost bin, plus explicit guidance re balance Single prioritized list Priorities for science questions, cross-referenced to mission list (annotated by which questions, how well) – Priority tree, with contingencies (dep. on budget, cost) – …
(9) Useful cost estimates
• Currently, projects have incentive to low-ball • Obviates planning • Projects in vastly different stages, so robustness of costing varies • Options
– Rely on projects to provide costing (as now) – Committee includes experts in project management and cost estimation – Contract an independent entity to provide more realistic cost estimates – Abandon attempts to estimate cost – Use incentives/rules, e.g., if project increases by factor of >2.5, priorities are moot
(10) Recommendations of previous surveys
• Common for missions to take >1 decade
– E.g., ALMA and SIM both recommended in 1991
• Usually “blessed” in next survey • Many AANM projects not started; if blessed, no free money in next decade • Options:
• Validate previous rankings • Validate projects under construction (Phase C/D); reconsider others in light of science/tech advances • Reconsider projects w only technology development • Consider all projects anew
(11) Flexible recommendations
• • • • • • • More flexibility alternatives w decision points Offer alternatives for range of budget futures Give example “waterfall” (budget) charts Address project phasing, complementarity Discuss role of private telescopes Explicitly specify mix of project sizes Role for core group in advisory capacity throughout decade
• Make clear decadal survey priorities are based on science • Delete from priority list projects using political approach
Summary of SSB Assessment of NASA Science Plan (astrophysics aspects only)
Assessment of NASA SMD Science Plan (astrophysics issues)
• • • SSB study, Committee chaired by Tom Young Issued letter to Mary Cleave on September 15, 2006 (circulated) Comments:
– NASA has ignored SSB report (Winter 2005-6), An Assessment of Balance in NASA’s Science Program – SMD Science Plan overemphasizes mission-specific activities in comparison to mission-enabling things like R&A, technology development (and DSN) – Cost growth in big missions is a major concern, which impacts executability of NASA Science Plan. Has made it difficult to maintain program balance between large and small.
– – – – Compare 2003 and 2006 Science Plans, note differences. Develop strategic plan for technology development for future missions Protect R&A. Plan for mission-enabling elements of program:
• Strategic approach to R&A (justify levels, etc.) • Plan for computing/modeling needs, develop strategic plan.
– Cost growth:
• Improve mechanisms for cost estimation • Review major missions currently in development
– Fix problems caused by recent cuts, disruptions to human capital and technology development pipeline.
AANM Key Science Questions
• How did universe begin, how did it evolve from primordial soup of elementary particles into complex structures seen today, and what is its destiny? How do galaxies first arise and mature? How are stars born and how do they live and die? How do planets form and change as they age? Does life exist elsewhere in the universe?
• • • •
Q2C Key Science Questions
1. What is dark matter? 2. What is dark energy? 3. How did the universe Are protons unstable? What are the new
begin? 4. Was Einstein right about gravity? 5. How have neutrinos shaped the universe? 6. What are nature’s most energetic particles?
states of matter? Are there more space-time dimensions? How were elements from Fe to Uranium made? Is new theory of light and matter needed?
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