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Committee on a Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics)
Space Studies Board
Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.
The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study is based on work supported by Contract NNH06CE15B between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Grant AGS-1050550 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the agencies that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-3: 978-0-309-16428-3
International Standard Book Number-0: 0-309-16428-1
Library of Congress Control Number: 2013940083
ENABLING DISCOVERY IN SOLAR AND SPACE PHYSICS
SOLAR AND SPACE PHYSICS: RECENT DISCOVERIES, FUTURE FRONTIERS
ADDRESSING SOCIETAL NEEDS
NSF PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION
NASA PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION
SPACE WEATHER AND SPACE CLIMATOLOGY: A VISION FOR FUTURE CAPABILITIES
REPORT OF THE PANEL ON ATMOSPHERE-IONOSPHERE-MAGNETOSPHERE 149 INTERACTIONS
REPORT OF THE PANEL ON SOLAR WIND-MAGNETOSPHERE INTERACTIONS
REPORT OF THE PANEL ON SOLAR AND HELIOSPHERIC PHYSICS
Strategic planning activities within NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and several National Science Foundation (NSF) divisions draw heavily on reports issued by the National Research Council (NRC), particularly those from the Space Studies Board (SSB).
Principal among these SSB inputs is identification of priority science and missions and facilities in the decadal science strategy surveys.
The first true decadal strategy for the field of solar and space physics, The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond: A Decadal Research Strategy in Solar and Space Physics, was published in 2003.
That comprehensive study reviewed relevant research and applications activities, listed the key science questions, and recommended specific spacecraft missions and ground-based facilities and programs for the period 2003-2012.
Supplemented by several subsequent SSB studies—for example, A Performance Assessment of NASA’s Heliophysics Program (2009);
Distributed Arrays of Small Instruments for Solar-Terrestrial Research: Report of a Workshop (2006); Plasma Physics of the Local Cosmos (2004); Exploration of the Outer Heliosphere and the Local Interstellar Medium:
A Workshop Report (2004); and The Role of Solar and Space Physics in NASA’s Space Exploration Initiative (2004)—the 2003 survey report provided key guidance for the SMD’s solar and space physics (called heliophysics at NASA) programs and NSF’s related atmospheric and geosciences programs during the first decade of the 21st century.
The successful initiation of many of the missions and programs recommended in the preceding studies, combined with important discoveries by a variety of ground- and space-based research activities, demonstrated the need for a second decadal survey of solar and space physics.
Thus, in March 2010, Edward J. Weiler, NASA’s associate administrator for the SMD, requested that a new decadal strategy survey be initiated (Appendix A).
The request was seconded by the leadership of NSF’s Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences. Specific tasks outlined in the request included the following:
• An overview of the science and a broad survey of the current state of knowledge in the field, including a discussion of the relationship between space- and ground-based science research and its connection to other scientific areas;
• Determination of the most compelling science challenges that have arisen from recent advances and accomplishments;
• Identification—having considered scientific value, urgency, cost category and risk, and technical readiness—of the highest-priority science targets for the interval 2013-2022, recommending science objectives and measurement requirements for each target rather than specific mission or project design/ implementation concepts; and
• Development of an integrated research strategy that will present means to address these targets
In response to this request, the NRC appointed the 19-member Committee on a Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics) and 86 additional experts organized into three discipline panels.
The Panel on Atmosphere-Ionosphere-Magnetosphere Interactions, the Panel on Solar Wind-Magnetosphere Interactions, and the Panel on Solar and Heliospheric Physics—and five informal working groups.
The discipline panels were charged with the task of defining the current state of research in their discipline and determining priorities for scientific investigations in those areas.
One member of each panel also served on the survey committee as a designated liaison. The working groups—Theory, Modeling, and Data Exploitation; Explorers, Suborbital, and Other Platforms; Innovations: Technology, Instruments, and Data Systems;
Research to Operations/Operations to Research; and Education and Workforce—were similarly charged to assess the state of the field in these cross-cutting areas and to determine areas of critical needs.
These working groups were composed approximately half by members of the survey committee and panels and half by volunteer consultants.
The members of the working groups are listed in the section that follows this preface. In total, the survey committee, discipline panels, and working groups involved 105 members. This effort has been supported by NASA and NSF.
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