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Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium
In addition, the committee recommends the following :
To ensure the future vitality of the field, NSF AST should provide adequate funding for grants not tied to a facility or program—the unrestricted grants.
The NSF AST should initiate new projects with other NSF divisions that emphasize cross-disciplinary activities deriving from new technologies or new scientific themes developed in this report.
The NSF should work with other federal government agencies and with the astronomical community to build interagency programs that will aggressively pursue astronomical problems of broad national interest.
The committee notes that the growth of interdisciplinary projects in astrophysics and cosmology has led to increased participation of NSF divisions other than AST in support of astronomy and astrophysics. In particular, the committee endorses the continued development of the new program activity coordinated within the NSF Physics Division (PHY) for projects in nuclear and particle astrophysics. This initiative cuts across NSF programs in high-energy physics, nuclear physics, theory, and gravitational physics within PHY as well as work in the Office of Polar Programs and NSF AST. It represents a positive step in developing a coherent approach to interdisciplinary projects in astrophysics within NSF.
POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NASA: SPACE-BASED ASTRONOMY
The U.S. space program in astronomy is generally vigorous and strong. NASA has made a variety of flight and suborbital opportunities available to the astronomy community along with grants for data analysis and theoretical studies. NASA’s initiative for the Astrophysics Data System has vastly increased the accessibility of the scientific literature for astronomers. NASA deserves credit for this valuable activity and is urged to continue it. NASA’s data archiving and distribution systems are extremely effective as well, making results from space-based observations available to a worldwide community of scientists. NASA’s efforts to engage the American public in the excitement of astronomical search and discovery are exemplary.
As an agency, NASA has been successful in communicating its