Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey

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The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey is a review of astronomy and astrophysics literature produced approximately every ten years by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States. The report surveys the current state of the field, identifies research priorities, and makes recommendations for the coming decade. The editing committee is informed by topical panels and subcommittees, dedicated conferences, and direct community input in the form of white papers summarizing the state of the art in each subdiscipline. The most recent report, Astro2010, is currently available in prepublication form, with the final version set for release before the end of 2010.[1][2][3][4]

Ground-Based Astronomy: A Ten-Year Program, 1964[edit]

The first report, Ground-Based Astronomy: A Ten-Year Program, was released in 1964.[5] The report recommends construction of national observing facilities, including especially mid-sized ground-based optical telescopes.[6][7]

Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 1970s, 1972[edit]

The second report, Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 1970s, was released in 1972.[8] It recommends priorities for both space- and ground-based programs, and was instrumental in the eventual construction of the Very Large Array.[6][7]

Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 1980s, 1982[edit]

The third report, Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 1980s, was released in 1982.[7] It identifies construction of the Very Long Baseline Array as a priority.[6]

The Decade of Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics, 1991[edit]

The fourth report, The Decade of Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics, was released in 1991.[9] It recommends launch of the "Advanced X-Ray Astrophysics Facility", which was realized in 1999 as the Chandra X-ray Observatory.[10] It also recommends launch of the "Space Infrared Telescope Facility", realized in 2003 as the Spitzer Space Telescope,[11] the fourth and final in NASA's Great Observatories program.

Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium, 2001[edit]

The fifth report, Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium, was released in 2001.[12] It gives highest priority to the construction and launch of Next Generation Space Telescope, now the James Webb Space Telescope with launch planned for 2014 or 2015. The report reaffirms the 1991 recommendation for the completion of the Millimeter Array, now part of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array international collaboration. It also examines the benefits of a robust astronomy research program to the nation, and expresses concern regarding the percentage of funding tied to a few large projects.[13]

New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2010[edit]

The sixth report, New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, was released in prepublication form in August 2010, with the final version set to be released by the end of the year. Recommendations for scientific questions to be answered include: the nature of dark energy; the structure, distribution, and evolution of exoplanetary systems; detailed examination of extreme processes including supernovae and the merger of superdense objects; and how galaxies and galaxy clusters formed from the early hot universe.[14]:7 The report also examines technical readiness, scheduling, and funding issues as well as basic science. The recommendations consider a range of funding scenarios based on projected budgets for the major funding agencies, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy. The top priorities identified by the report include:

Other priorities include Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) for measuring gravitational waves and International X-ray Observatory for investigating black holes and the evolution of large scale structure in the universe. The report also recommends augmenting the Explorer program for small and medium sized missions with rapid turnaround and high scientific return, and the creation of a Midscale Innovations Program within the National Science Foundation for funding projects in the $4–135 million range.[14][16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Astro2010: The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey
  2. ^ "Astro2010: The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey Community Input to the Survey". Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  3. ^ "Astro2010 - The Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2010: Project Information". Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  4. ^ "Anticipation High for New Decadal Astronomy Report". Space.com. 2010-08-13. Archived from the original on 15 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  5. ^ National Academy of Sciences (U.S.). Panel on Astronomical Facilities (1964). Ground-based astronomy: a ten-year program. National Academies Press. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  6. ^ a b c "National Radio Astronomy Observatory Archives: NRAO Timeline". Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  7. ^ a b c Astronomy and astrophysics for the 1980s. Washington, D.C: National Academy Press. 1982. ISBN 0-309-03249-0. 
  8. ^ Astronomy and astrophysics for the 1970s. Washington: National Academy of Sciences. 1972. ISBN 0-309-02110-3. 
  9. ^ The decade of discovery in astronomy and astrophysics. Washington, D.C: National Academy Press. 1991. ISBN 0-309-04381-6. 
  10. ^ Weisskopf, M. C. (2010). "Chandra's First Decade of Discovery Special Feature: the making of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory: the project scientist's perspective". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107 (16): 7135–7140. arXiv:1003.1990. Bibcode:2010PNAS..107.7135W. doi:10.1073/pnas.0913067107.  edit
  11. ^ "Spitzer Mission Overview". Archived from the original on 11 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  12. ^ Astronomy and astrophysics in the new millennium. Washington, D.C: National Academy Press. 2001. ISBN 0-309-07312-X. 
  13. ^ Jones, Richard M. (2000-06-08). "Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium: NRC sets priorities". FYI: the AIP bulletin of science policy news (American Institute of Physics). Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  14. ^ a b Committee for a Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics; National Research Council (2010). New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics. National Academies Press. ISBN 978-0-309-15796-4. Archived from the original on 16 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  15. ^ "National Research Council Report Highly Recommends CCAT". The CCAT News. 2010-08. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  16. ^ "Report Identifies Top Priorities for Astronomy and Astrophysics in the Coming Decade". Office of News and Public Relations of the National Academies. 2010-08-13. Archived from the original on 17 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-09.