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Su~n~naries of Moor Reports 3.l Satellite Observations of the Earth's Environment: Accelerating the Transition of Research to Operations A Report of the Committee on NASA-NOAA Transition from Research to Operations Executive Summary Observing and accurately predicting Earths environment are criticalfor the health, safety, and prosperity of the nation. The United States invests heavily in making global measurements from satellites and in using these observations to create accurate weatherforecasts and warnings' long-term climate records' and a variety of other environmental information products. Major opportunities exist for advances in prediction and in other weather, ocean, and climate information products. Realizing the potential benefits of the investments in satellites requires rapid, efficient transitions of measurement and modeling capabilities developed in the research community to the observing and prediction systems of the operational agencies. In the case of spaceborne environmental measure- ments, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA J conducts research into the development of measurement technologies and analysis techniques. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is responsible for civil operational observing systems and associated products, services, and predictions. This report examines the NASA-NOAA research-to-operations transition process and provides recommenda- tions for improvements that will lead to more rapid and efficient interagency transitions. The primary finding of the National Research Council's Committee on NASA-NOAA Transition from Research to Operations is that, while clear examples of successful transitions currently exist, the transition process in general is largely ad hoc. Some transitions are relatively successful, but many are less so, and no mechanism is available to ensure that the transition process in general is efficient and elective. The committee is primary recommendation is that a high-level joint NASA-NOAA planning and coordination office should be established to focus specifically on the transition process. The ability to observe and predict Earth's environment, including weather, space weather, and climate, and to improve the accuracy of those predictions in a complex society that is ever more dependent on environmental variability and change, has heightened the importance and value of environmental observations and information. NOTE: "Executive Summary" reprinted from Satellite Observations of the Earth's Environment: Accelerating the Transition of Research to Operations, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2003, pp. 1-8. 40
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Summaries of Major Reports 4 1 These observations, and the predictions on which they are based, are now essential to many components of society including national defense, industry, policy-making bodies, and the people and institutions that manage natural resources as well as to the comfort, health, and safety of the public. It is estimated that as much as 40 percent of the $10 trillion U.S. economy is affected by weather and climate annually. Because satellites can observe the entire Earth at relatively low cost, they play an essential role in contributing to the global database that describes the Earth system and that is necessary for prediction. Advances in remote sensing technology and research have put the dream of an Earth Information System (EIS) which would make available to a myriad of users valuable quantitative digital data about the complete Earth system within reach in the next few decades. The scientific and technological foundation for the vision of the EIS rests on the opportunity to observe the complete Earth system with unprecedented resolution and accuracy and to assimilate the diverse observations into complex models. Satellites will provide many, though not all, of the future observations required to describe Earth completely. Realizing the vision of the EIS and the predictive capabilities that it supports, however, is neither easy nor guaranteed. It depends on transferring the advances in research and technology many of which are accomplished by NASA and its university and private sector partners to useful products, applications, and operations, which are primarily the responsibility of NOAA and the Department of Defense (DOD). How to improve this technology transfer, or "transitioning," process in the area of weather and climate is the subject of this report. Although the report focuses on weather and climate and on NASA and NOAA, the lessons learned and the recommendations presented here are likely to be relevant to other satellite applications and to other agencies. In the more than 40 years since the launch of the first weather satellite, the Television Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS-I), on April 1, 1960, there have been many successful transfers of NASA research into NOAA and DOD operations. These successful transfers have led to a steady increase in forecast accuracy and to a variety of beneficial applications for society, including the protection of life and property as well as support for commerce, industry, resource management, the military, and personal activities. Along with the successes, however many of which have occurred in spite of a relatively ad hoc, unplanned, or inefficient process there have been research missions with opportunities for practical applications that have been slow to be realized or that have gone unrealized altogether. Given the large cost (several billion dollars per year) of research satellites and operational weather and climate services and the increasing importance of and opportunities offered by satellite-based remote sensing, there is an increasing realization that greater attention should be paid to the technology transfer or transitioning process itself, in order to accelerate the rate of return on the research investment. Transition pathways are the end-to-end set of processes assembled for achieving successful transitions. Each pathway requires a strong supporting infrastructure, which consists of a number of building blocks including a solid research foundation, laboratories, equipment, computers, algorithms, models, information technologies, and test beds. Robust and effective transition pathways are needed to bridge the valley of death that is, the gap that can exist between research and operations for technologies with known applications and the valley of lost oppor- tunities that is, unrealized potential in which unforeseen applications of new technologies are missed completely. Bridging the valleys of death and lost opportunities can be done in various ways. It often depends on an appropriate balance between the "push" of new research results and opportunities from the research community and the "pull" from the perceived needs or requirements of the operational community and users. The process is hindered by a variety of obstacles, including these: · Cultural differences between the research and operational communities, · Organizational issues, · Poor communication and coordination between the research and operational communities, · Lack of adequate financial or educated human resources, · Absence of effective long-range planning, and · Inadequate scientific knowledge or technological capability. The committee's examination of a sample of historical case studies in which the transition from NASA research to NOAA and DOD operations has occurred with varying degrees of success (see Appendix B) suggests ways to, imnrc~ve the transitioning process and so increase the rate at which the return to society on the research
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42 Space Studies Board Annual Report 2003 investment is achieved. These improvements include making the multiple processes that support the transition from research to operations more flexible and efficient. The committee's overarching recommendation is to establish a strong and effective joint NASA-NOAA office to plan, coordinate, and support the transitioning of NASA research to NOAA operations.) The planning and coordination should include an early evaluation of each research mission, including new sensor capability and potential operational utility. Every appropriate mission, as defined by the formal evaluation process, should have a flexible strategic plan for transferring the research to operations. The committee recognizes, however, and strongly emphasizes that not all NASA research missions are or should be driven by operational needs or requirements a major and essential part of the NASA mission is to increase fundamental understanding of Earth and the universe, regardless of foreseeable operational opportunities. However, many NASA missions have both a fundamental research component and the potential for applications of the science and technology for the benefit of society. This report focuses on that type of mission. The improved transitioning process should be based on a balance between research push and operational pull. This balance, which will vary from one mission to another, can be achieved through increased dialogue between the two communities and through overlap within their respective missions (i.e., research missions that have an operational component and vice versa). The data from research missions should be tested in operational settings and the operational impact assessed. Conversely, the collection, processing, and archiving of operational data should take into consideration the needs of the research community as well as the operational impact of the data. Test beds, in which assimilation methods and algorithms using research results and data are developed and evaluated prior to and during research missions, are an important component of the transitioning process. These test beds not only will help determine how best to use the research data and evaluate their impact, but also will enable experimentation with new models and products in parallel with the operations. The user community should be involved early in the planning for research missions, and each mission should have an education and training plan. This plan should take into account the operational, research, and academic communities, including students. Adequate resources must be devoted to the transitioning process. The committee has not attempted to determine the amount of the resources required (which would vary from mission to mission) but believes that compared with the support currently provided for research and operations separately, the additional amount would be small perhaps on the order of 5 to 10 percent of the research and operational budgets. The committee believes that this investment would pay large dividends in increasing the intrinsic value of research missions, improving existing operational products, and creating new ones. RECOMMENDATIONS Recommendation 1: A strong and effective Interagency Transition Office for the planning and coordina- tion of activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in support of transitioning research to operations should be established by and should report to the highest levels of NASA and NOAA. The proposed Interagency Transition Office (ITO) should have broad responsibility (not specifically related to sensor capability) for ensuring that appropriate research is efficiently and effectively transitioned to operational uses. However, the ITO itself should not implement the transitioning activities. The implementation should be carried out by appropriate NASA or NOAA entities (such as the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System [NPOESS] Integrated Program Office, with its current charter for the acquisition of polar operational satellite systems) or by their partners in the academic community and private sector. The ITO is Following its charge, the Committee on NASA-NOAA Transition from Research to Operations is making recommendations to NASA and NOAA to form and to be the primary participating agencies in this joint transition office. However, the committee recognizes the value of cooperation between NASA, NOAA, and other partners, including the Department of Defense and international organizations. Consequently, this joint office is intended to be and is offered as a flexible institution so that NASA and NOAA could invite the DOD or other U.S. agencies to become full participants when and if appropriate. See Recommendation 1 in the next section in this Executive Summary and the discussion in Chapter 6 for greater detail regarding the structure of this transition office.
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Summaries of Major Reports 43 intended to support and simplify transitions by augmenting, enabling, and leveraging the existing infrastructure within NASA and NOAA rather than by introducing duplicative capability or bureaucracy. The ITO should have an independent, high-level advisory council consisting of representatives from the operational and research communities as well as from the public and private sectors. The council should also serve as a forum for regular discussions between the leaders of the research and operational organizations. An executive board, envisioned by the committee as including the NASA and NOAA administrators and the President's Science Advisor at a minimum, should provide high-level oversight and review of the ITO. NASA and NOAA should consider including as executive board members representatives at an equivalent level from DOD (for example, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and technology) and from other agencies when appropriate to the mission of the ITO. Implementation of the following recommendations is needed in order to support the mission of the proposed ITO. However, these recommendations are not specifically tied to the establishment of the ITO. They stand on their own merit and are necessary to strengthen any transitioning mechanism or pathway. Recommendation 2: NOAA and NASA should improve and formalize the process of developing and communicating operational requirements and priorities. 2.1 NOAA should continuously evaluate and define operational user needs and formally communicate them to NASA on a regular basis. 2.2 NASA should formally consider the requirements of NOAA and other operational agencies in estab- lishing its priorities (the "pull" side of the transition process). NASA should establish appropriate programs and budgets as needed to respond to selected NOAA requirements. Recommendation 3: All NASA Earth science satellite missions should be formally evaluated in the early stages of the mission planning process for potential applications to operations in the short, medium, or long term, and resources should be planned for and secured to support appropriate mission transition activities. The evaluation process should include engaging in dialogue with the research and operational communities and obtaining input from possible users of the observations. For appropriate missions, as determined by the assessment, a flexible plan or architecture for a seamless transition pathway, including the necessary financial and human resources, should be developed, regularly reviewed, and updated as necessary. For a mission that is identified as having significant potential for providing data useful to operations, the following activities should be supported: 3.1 NASA and NOAA should work together to strengthen the planning, coordination, and management components of the mission. Teams of people with appropriate research and operational expertise should be assigned to the mission. A culture fostering aggressive and challenging approaches, risk taking, acceptance of outside ideas and technologies, flexibility, and a "can-do" attitude should be encouraged. 3.2 Adequate resources should be provided in order to support all aspects of the transitioning activities, as determined by the assessment and plans. Consideration should be given to establishing guidelines and mechanisms for encouraging transition efforts. For example, a small fraction (e.g., 5 to 10 percent) of each sensor or mission project budget might be allocated to transition activities. Principal investigators might be asked to submit plans or concepts for transitional activities, with significant points being allotted in scoring this aspect of the proposals. Research into how to use new types of observations should be supported well in advance of the launch of the research or operational mission that acquires the observations. In parallel with the acquisition program, this research should include developing and testing algorithms to convert sensor data to environmental products (including environmental data records) and data-assimilation methods, as appro- priate to the mission. The research may be carried out in a variety of institutions, including universities, national laboratories, cooperative institutes, and test bed facilities. The institutional mechanisms to conduct the research should be identified early in the mission.
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44 Space Studies Board Annual Report 2003 3.4 Each research mission should have a comprehensive data-management plan. The plan should include the identification of potential users and approaches for processing the data, converting the raw data to information, creating metadata, distributing data and information to users in real time, and archiving and the subsequent accessing of data by users. 3.5 NASA and NOAA, through the ITO as defined in Recommendation 1, should develop a plan to include the use of NPOESS and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R) sensor data by the appropriate government agencies. A collaborative arrangement and at least one demonstration/pilot or benchmark project should be developed with each primary user agency (e.g., the U.S. Geological Survey [USGS1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA1, and the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA1) using NPOESS and GOES-R products. 3.6 Each research mission should have an associated education and training plan. This plan should be addressed to the operational, research, and academic communities, including students. It could include, for example, scientific visitor exchange programs, support for collaborative research, workshops, and a plan for the timely flow of research data to operational and academic institutions. 3.7 The evaluation process and resulting transition plans should consider potential roles in the research-to- operations transition process for the academic community (including principal-investigator-led projects) and the private sector, both of which have relevant capabilities and knowledge not available within NASA and NOAA. Recommendation 4: NASA and NOAA should jointly work toward and should budget for an adaptive and flexible operational system in order to support the rapid infusion of new satellite observational technologies, the validation of new capabilities, and the implementation of new operational applications. 4.1 Operational satellite programs should provide for the capability of validating advanced instruments in space and of cross-calibrating them with existing instruments, in parallel to the operational mission, by the most efficient means possible (e.g., by reserving approximately 25 percent of the payload power, volume, and mass capability; through "bridge" missions; and so on). 4.2 To the extent possible, observations from research missions should be provided in real time or near real time to researchers and potential users. Operational centers or associated test beds should use and evaluate the research observations in developing their products and should provide feedback to researchers. Test beds such as the Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation and the Joint Hurricane Testbed should be supported as a way to bridge the final steps in the gap between research and operations. The primary mission of such test beds should not be to conduct basic research or operations, but rather to develop and test new real-time modeling and data-assimilation systems to use the new observations. The test beds should include participation by the academic research community and should be quasi- independent from the operational agencies. Senior personnel responsible for transition activities should be located at major operational centers of NOAA and at the major research segments of NASA.
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Summaries of Major Reports 3.2 Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions A llepo:rt of the Committee on Earth Studies Executive Summary 45 Over the last decade, NASA has increasingly emphasized small, focused principal-investigator (PI)-led science missions as an important element of its space and Earth science programs. NASA has chosen to implement many of these projects by soliciting mission ideas from the scientific community and giving the selected PI responsibility for both the scientific and the programmatic success of the entire project. With the first of these missions now launched and producing valuable scientific results, PI-led missions have established their importance as part of a balanced scientific observing program. NASA's Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) initiated the Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP), its first program for PI-led missions, in 1996.i ESSP supports "low-cost, quick turnaround spaceborne missions" intended to provide "exploratory measurements which can yield new scientific breakthroughs and can deliver conclusive scientific results addressing a focused set of scientific questions."2 Six missions have since been selected in three rounds of ESSP proposals, with one mission successfully launched and four in development for launch in 2004 and beyond (the sixth mission Vegetation Canopy Lidar was descoped to a technology development program and has now been canceled). PI-led missions represent one of several programmatic approaches that ESE takes to obtain scientific data from space, including multi-instrument facility-class missions, data buys, dedicated observatories, and others. The Earth Explorers Program,3 within which PI-led mission projects are executed, has proven to be a valuable and com- plementary component in this portfolio of mission approaches for obtaining the data required to support the ESE objective of developing an understanding of the total Earth system and of the effects of natural and human-induced changes on the global environment.4 The explicit objectives of PI-led missions are usually stated clearly in the solicitation,5 but such projects have also historically promoted additional ESE goals. In particular, PI-led missions have been viewed as a means to help develop the capacity of university-based research, building on the potential for leadership by university-based PIs and for the substantial involvement of educational institutions. The experiences with the first six selected ESSP projects underscore the challenges that PI-led missions face. All spaceborne missions are subject to the risks associated with pursuing difficult objectives in the harsh environ- ment of space. PI-led ESSP missions face further challenges that are closely associated with the ambitious objectives of the ESSP program, the limited resources available to satisfy those objectives, the uneven record of the solicitation and selection process in choosing viable missions, and the varying maturity of the processes for . ~ . . executing tnese missions. NOTE: "Executive Summary" reprinted from Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2004. According to the NPG 7120.5B, a program is "an activity within an Enterprise having defined goals, objectives, requirements, funding, and consisting of one or more projects, reporting to the NASA Program Management Council, unless delegated to a Governing Program Management Council"; a project is "an activity designated by a program and characterized as having defined goals, objectives, requirements, life cycle costs, a beginning, and an end." See NASA Procedures and Guidelines 71 20.5B: NASA Program and Project Management Processes and Requirements. Available online at . 2ESSP-3 Announcement of Opportunity (AO), 2001. This and other reference documents for the ESSP program can be found in the ESSP AO library online at . 3NASA's Earth Explorers Program is "the component of Earth Science Enterprise that investigates specific, highly focused areas of Earth science research. It is comprised of flight projects that provide pathfinder exploratory and process driven measurements, answering innovative and unique Earth science questions." Currently, the components of the Earth Explorers Program are the Earth System Science Pathfinder; the Rapid Spacecraft Development Office; the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE), which is in orbit; and Triana, which has been placed in storage indefinitely. See the Earth Explorers Program home page at . 4See the ESE home page at . 5The primary stated objectives in the ESSP-3 AO (2001) solicitation included frequent low-cost missions, high-priority focused exploratory science, and innovative project implementation.
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Representative terms from entire chapter:
46 Space Studies Board Annual Report 2003 The purpose of this study is to identify and evaluate opportunities for enhancing all aspects of PI-led missions and to recommend whether (and if so, how) they should be used to build the capacity of university-based research. The committee concluded that ESE should focus on enhancements for PI-led missions in three areas: the conceptualization of the programs, the institutional investments that support them, and the implementation of the projects themselves. Its findings and recommendations address potential enhancements aligned with these three areas. Finding: The PI-led mission paradigm represents a valuable approach to soliciting and executing missions involving focused science objectives, with demonstrated success in both the Earth and space sciences. PI-led missions provide an important element of the overall ESE observing strategy, complementing other elements such as facility-class missions and data buys. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should continue to employ PI-led missions as one element of the ESE observation system. It should ensure regular review and improvement of the programs that employ or are associated with PI-led missions to increase their effectiveness and value to ESE and the science community. PROGRAM CONCEPTUALIZATION: MATCHING OBJECTIVES TO CONSTRAINTS By design, the PI-led missions that are selected by NASA's ESE are ambitious in their expected science return and frugal in their demands on fiscal and other resources. In the committee's view, a mismatch between objectives and constraints has been the root cause of many difficulties encountered in the execution of PI-led missions. Finding: The scientific and programmatic objectives of ESE are ambitious compared with the constraints under which PI-led missions are implemented, particularly the capped funding and tight schedule. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should focus its programmatic objectives for PI-led missions to better match the available resources and constraints, with achievement of high-quality science measurements being the highest-priority objective. Finding: Universities can derive considerable benefit by participating in an ESE mission; however, using PI-led missions to build the capacity of university-based research is not readily achievable within the structure and resources of current ESE PI-led programs. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should not include building the capacity of university-based research as an explicit objective of PI-led missions unless fundamental changes are made to program structure and resources. INSTITUTIONAL INVESTMENTS: ESTABLISHING THE FOUNDATIONS Success in PI-led missions correlates with direction of the projects by experienced PI-led teams, the use of mature technologies,6 and the existence of adequate project management tools at the time of mission selection. Ensuring an adequate number of potential proposers requires that opportunities exist to develop these tools and capabilities. Finding: The rigorous and ambitious cost and schedule constraints imposed on PI-led missions preclude all but minimal technology development prior to launch. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should explicitly nurture and coordinate technology feeder programs such as the Instrument Incubator Program and the Office of Aerospace Technology's 6NASA assesses the maturity of a technology according to technology readiness levels (TRLs). For an explanation of TRLs, see John C. Mankins, "Technology Readiness Levels: A White Paper," available at
Summaries of Major Reports 47 Mission and Science Measurement Technology Program that develop technologies with potential application to PI-led missions. A quantitative assessment of the anticipated flow of technology through the technology readiness level chain would help guide this effort. Finding: Proposers of non-selected PI-led missions found to have high scientific priority but known technical risk have limited access to funding for reducing the project's level of risk prior to the next proposal round. Both ESE and the scientific community would benefit from improved opportunities to reduce the technical risk of recognized high-priority science missions and then re-propose them. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should include within the solicitation for PI-led missions a component, following the Solar System Exploration Discovery model, that provides limited technology funding for high-priority non-selected PI-led mission proposals to increase their technology readiness for the next proposal round. Finding: The Earth science community, particularly the university-based community, has historically produced only a small number of scientists with the in-depth space engineering and technical management experience that is required to lead a project in a PI mode of operation. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should formally identify and promote activities that develop PIs qualified to propose and lead small, focused science missions. PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION: IMPROVING LIFE-CYCLE PROCESSES The three fundamental elements of the PI-led mission life cycle solicitation, selection, and execution are part of a system of checks and balances. The system functions properly when the solicitation process establishes an achievable balance of objectives and resources, the selection process ensures that the chosen missions reflect that balance, and the execution process rigorously maintains the balance throughout mission development. Some of the problems encountered with current ESE PI-led missions could have been avoided if this system had worked more effectively. The committee' recommendation for enhancing project implementation focus on improving the checks and balances in each of these three life-cycle processes. Finding: Existing NASA guidelines (e.g., NPG 7120.5B) establish a management system relevant to PI-led missions, including an essential checks-and-balances formalism for the three PI-led mission project life-cycle processes of solicitation, selection, and execution. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should emphasize formal and regular reviews of the life-cycle system of checks and balances as applied to PI-led missions and should continuously strengthen the processes on which the system is based. Finding: Many of the issues arising throughout a mission's lifetime are rooted in decisions made by the PI and project team during the formulation phase—early in the project as the mission concept is developed, team roles and responsibilities (including NASA's) are defined, and the management approach is established. Ultimate mission success requires that major technical and programmatic issues be identified and jointly addressed by both the PI team and the NASA program office during the formulation phase. While extending competition between PI teams through the entire formulation phase provides NASA with additional insight into the effectiveness of the PI teams and the maturity of the mission designs, it delays the integration of the PI and NASA teams and motivates the PI teams to emphasize strengths and minimize weaknesses. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should avoid extensive overlap between competi- tion and execution activities during the formulation phase of PI-led missions, thus providing an adequate schedule for the PI team and NASA to perform critical formulation tasks after the competitive selection is completed.
48 Space Studies Board Annual Report 2003 Solicitation The objectives and constraints that drive a PI-led project are determined largely by the first element of the life cycle, solicitation. A carefully constructed solicitation can provide for a more achievable balance between objectives and constraints, thus increasing the probability of receiving viable proposals. Finding: The threat of project cancellation has not proved effective either in motivating the submission of PI-led proposals with adequate reserves or in constraining costs to meet the cost cap. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should redefine cost caps from a threshold that triggers an automatic termination review to a threshold for a remedial review that includes an examina- tion of how the division of responsibility and authority between the PI and ESE might be revised to better control costs. Cost caps should be established only when the project has reached a sufficient level of maturity that the proposed cost is credible, such as at mission design review. ESE should also consider the use of a science floor, a PI-proposed minimum scientific achievement needed to justify the mission, in setting and managing within cost caps. Finding: Domestic and international partners have increasingly been included on PI-led mission teams to enhance the quality of science achievable within the available ESE project budget. Despite the many benefits of such collaborations, more complex and diverse teams increase risk and add costs to pay for team interfaces. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should recognize not only the benefits but also the risks of having domestic and international partners in a PI-led mission program. The mission solicita- tion should identify the need for processes by which both the PI team and the relevant NASA office ensure that partnering agreements are completed early in the formulation phase, that definition of an interface is given high priority, and that the management decision chain is clear and is understood by all parties. Finding: A properly constructed solicitation balances the need for proposals detailed enough to permit thorough evaluation against the time required both to prepare and to evaluate proposals. The two-step proposal process, in particular the use of short Step 1 proposals within ESSP, has provided a workable balance. However, the lack of NASA-funded support for proposals, particularly during Step 2, is increasingly limiting the ability of smaller . . ~ . . . . . Organizations and universities to participate. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should maintain the current two-step proposal process for PI-led missions but should provide funding to proposers for Step 2. Finding: Scientific results are the primary objective in PI-led missions, but postlaunch science funding commit- ments are not adequately identified in mission solicitations. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should clearly specify within the solicitation for a PI-led mission the extent to which scientific investigation and data analysis are expected to be included in the initial mission project budget, as well as the anticipated plans and budget for additional postlaunch science investigations. The science funded for the mission should address a PI-proposed science floor. Finding: Effective communication and the transfer of lessons learned between the Earth Explorers Program Office, current flight projects, and potential PI proposers can both increase the number of qualified proposers and reduce the risk associated with proposed projects. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should continue to emphasize and promote com- munication and the transfer of lessons learned between the Earth Explorers Program Office, current flight projects, and potential PI proposers.
Summaries of Major Reports 49 Selection Even a well-designed solicitation fails if the second element in the life cycle, the selection process, cannot reliably identify and select PI-led missions that both satisfy the solicitation and can be implemented within cost and schedule constraints. Finding: The quality of the selection process determines whether viable projects proceed to execution and thus greatly influences the overall success of PI-led missions. Selection criteria for PI-led missions, particularly those employed in Step 2, must adequately consider the ability of the project team to successfully implement a project; the ESE associate administrator must be provided sufficient information to determine the likely success of a project; and the selection decision must reflect an objective evaluation of the likelihood of success. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should carefully review the selection criteria for PI-led missions to ensure that they adequately identify and promote missions that can succeed. Finding: The number of qualified reviewers for ESE PI-led missions is small, particularly after elimination of scientists with conflicts of interest because of relationships with proposing teams. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should consider enlarging the pool of possible reviewers of PI-led missions by adding qualified international scientists (if feasible given current International Traffic in Arms Regulations constraints) and scientists from the space science community. ESE should also consider requiring as part of the contract for selected PI-led projects that the PI serve subsequently as a reviewer. Finding: The number of proposals selected for consideration in Step 2 represents a critical compromise between the desire for a large pool of evaluated PI-led mission proposals from which to make the final selection and the need for a pool small enough that available reviewers can perform detailed reviews. Selection for Step 2 of proposals that have a lower probability of final selection results in inefficient use of proposers' resources. Recommendation: The proposals supported in Step 2 of the selection process for PI-led missions should include only those that have sufficiently high scientific merit and an acceptable initial evaluation of technical, management, and cost risk so as to be fully competitive with all other Step 2 proposals. As an informal guideline, a minimum of two Step 2 proposals should be selected for evaluation for each flight opportunity to be awarded, and the maximum number considered should be one-third of the total proposals submitted in Step 1. Finding: Maintaining and improving the credibility of checks and balances is the highest priority for enhancing the selection process for PI-led missions. An effective and credible proposal review process requires a balanced effort among proposers, reviewers, and the selection official. Proposers are motivated to avoid overly optimistic costing if they respect the cost-review process; reviewers are more diligent when their recommendations are likely to be accepted by the selection official; and the selection official relies more readily on reviewer recommendations when the proposal and review process is effective at identifying the best mission candidates. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should strengthen the complementary roles of proposers, reviewers, and the selection official in the selection process for PI-led missions, improving the critical balance between the three roles and focusing on clear traceability of the selection process to independent reviews and established ESE priorities. Finding: The availability of accurate cost estimates is a very important element of the mission selection process, but establishing accurate estimates of project cost has historically provided one of the largest challenges to both proposers and reviewers of PI-led missions. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should enhance its cost evaluation capabilities to improve the accuracy of mission selection decisions and to motivate improved fidelity of cost proposals.
so Space Studies Board Annual Report 2003 Execution Finally, selected PI-led missions will not succeed if the execution processes are inadequate. Finding: Although some of the difficulties with recent PI-led missions are unique, many of the problems encountered have root causes in common with non-PI-led missions. In particular, the transition to smaller cost- constrained projects during the l990s and the contraction and aging of the space industry workforce have affected project success. These problems should not be attributed to flaws in the PI-mode process, but rather applied as general lessons for all small-mission projects. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should establish management processes for PI-led missions that emphasize understanding all PI-led and non-PI-led mission issues and the inclusion of appropriate lessons learned from both types of missions. Finding: Mission success is appropriately viewed as the combined responsibility of the PI-led team and NASA. Split as opposed to shared authority is appropriate for achieving mission success and is healthy for the PI community; split authority and the resulting allocation of responsibility should be explicitly recognized in the project plan and should also reflect the philosophy inherent in PI-led missions that the mission is to be defined and developed by the science community itself. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should explicitly recognize that mission success is a combined responsibility of the PI team and NASA and should establish project management plans, organizations, and processes that reflect an appropriate split, not a sharing, of authority, with the PI taking the lead in defining and maintaining overall mission integrity. Finding: While it may be appropriate for PI-led missions to use management processes that differ from NASA standards, NASA-defined minimum management standards are desirable to reduce programmatic risk to acceptable levels. Recommendation: NASA's Earth Science Enterprise should establish and enforce a comprehensive set of minimum standards for program management to be applied to all PI-led missions, while accepting that such missions may employ management processes that differ from those of NASA. These minimum management standards must invoke the rigor that experience has shown is required for success.
62 Space Studies Board Annual Report 2003 its Geosphere Environment Modeling (GEM) program, and the recent coordination of these groups into Sun-to- Earth analysis campaigns, highlight the need to focus this broad range of expertise on issues involved in coupling between the Sun, solar wind, magnetosphere, and ionosphere/atmosphere regions. To this end, NSF recently funded the Science and Technology Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling. NSF's information technology initiatives should be utilized as much as possible to develop important collaboration technologies in support of such major community analysis efforts. The investigation of planetary A-I-M systems reveals details of value to understanding the terrestrial system. Future planetary missions should regularly be outfitted to carry out at least a baseline set of observations of the upper atmosphere, the ionosphere, and the magnetosphere. In addition, theoretical studies linking our understand- ing of the terrestrial environment with other planetary environments are an effective way of bringing extensive knowledge of plasma and atmospheric processes in the terrestrial environment to bear on the interpretation of planetary phenomena. While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) have pursued space environment forecasting for many years, their connection to the science community was facilitated by the inception of the National Space Weather Program (NSWP) in 1995 and NASA's new Living With a Star (LOOS) program. The NSWP is a multiagency endeavor to understand the physical processes, from the Sun to Earth, that result in space weather and to transition scientific advances into operational applications. NASA's new LWS program represents an important opportunity to provide measurements and develop models that will clarify the relationship between sources of space weather and their impact. Enhancements and innovations in infrastructure, data management and assimilation, instrumentation, compu- tational models, software technologies, and methods for transitioning research to operations are essential to support the future exploration of geospace. RECOMMENDATIONS In the next decade, NASA should give highest priority to multispacecraft missions such as Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS), Geospace Electrodynamics Constellation (GEC), Magnetospheric Constellation (MagCon), and Living With a Star's geospace missions, which take advantage of adjustable orbit capability and the advancing technology of small spacecraft. Missions that involve large numbers of simply instrumented spacecraft are needed to develop a global view of the system and should be encouraged. NSF, for its part, should support extensive ground-based arrays of instrumentation to give a global, time-dependent view of this system. Ground- and space- based programs should be coordinated as, for example, is being done in the Thermosphere-Ionosphere- Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED)/CEDAR program to take advantage of the complementary nature of the two distinct viewpoints. NASA, NSF, DOD, and other agencies should encourage the development of theories and models that support the goal of understanding the A-I-M system from a dynamic point of view. Furthermore, these agencies should work toward the development of data analysis techniques, using modern information technology, that assimilate this multipoint data into a three-dimensional, dynamic picture of this complex system. Funding for the NASA Supporting Research and Technology (SR&T) program should be doubled to raise the proposal success rate from 20 percent to the level found in other agencies. Solar Terrestrial Probe (STP) flight programs should have their own targeted postlaunch theory, modeling, and data analysis support. Major NSF Initiative Simultaneous, multicomponent, ground-based observations of the A-I-M system are needed in order to specify the many interconnecting dynamic and thermodynamic variables. As our understanding of the complexity of the A-I-M system grows, so does the requirement to capture observations of its multiple facets. The proposed Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar (AMISR) will provide the opportunity for coordinated radar-optical studies of the aurora and coordinated investigations of the lower thermosphere and mesosphere, a region not well accessed by spacecraft. Initial location at Poker Flat, Alaska, will allow coordination of radar with in situ rocket measurements of auroral processes. Subsequent transfer to the deep polar cap will enable studies of polar cap convection and mapping of processes deeper in the geomagnetic tail.
Summaries of Major Reports 63 1. The National Science Foundation should extend its major observatory component by proceeding as quickly as possible with Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter leader (AMISH) and by developing one or more lidar-centered major facilities. Further, the NSF should begin an aggressive program to field hundreds of small automated instrument clusters to allow mapping the state of the global system. Ground-based sensors have played a pivotal role in our understanding of A-I-M science and must continue to do so in the coming decade and beyond. Anchored by a state-of-the-art phased-array scientific radar, the $60 million AMISR is a crucial element for A-I-M. A distributed array of instrument clusters would provide the high temporal and spatial resolution observations needed to drive the assimilative models which the panel hopes will parallel the weather forecasting models we now have for the lower atmosphere. Much of the necessary infrastructure for such a project has already been demonstrated in the prototype Suominet, a nationwide network of simple Global Positioning System (GPS)/meteorology stations linked by the Internet. The proposed program would add miniaturized instruments, such as all-sky imagers, Fabry-Perot interferometers, very-low-frequency (VLF) receivers, passive radars, magnetometers, and ionosondes in addition to powerful GPS-based systems in a flexible and expandable network coupled to fast real-time processing, display, and data distribution capabilities. Instrument clusters would be sited at universities and high schools, providing a rich hands-on environment for students and training with instruments and analysis for the next generation of space scientists. Data and reduced products from the distributed network would be distributed freely and openly over the Internet. An overall cost of $100 million over the 10-year planning period is indicated. Estimated costs range from $50,000 to $150,000 per station depending on instruments to be deployed. Adequate funding would be included for the development and implementation of data transfer, analysis, and distribution tools and facilities. Such a system would push the state of the art in information technology as well as instrument development and miniaturization. Extending the present radar-centered upper atmospheric observatories to include one or more lidar-centered facilities is crucial if we are to understand the boundary between the lower and upper atmosphere. Fortunately, a number of military and nonmilitary large-aperture telescopes may become available for transition to lidar-based science in the next few years. Highest priority would be given to a facility at the same geographic latitude as one of the existing radar sites. NASA Orbital Programs The Explorer Program has since the beginning of the space age provided opportunities for studying the geospace environment just as the Discovery Program now provides opportunities in planetary science. The continued opportunities for University-Class Explorer (UNEX), Small Explorer (SMEX), and Medium-Class Explorer (MIDEX) missions, practically defined in terms of their funding caps of $14 million, $90 million, and $180 million, respectively, allow the community the greatest creativity in developing new concepts and a faster response time to new developments in both science and technology. These missions also provide a crucial training ground for graduate students, managers, and engineers. Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE), launched in March 2000, is an example of a highly successful MIDEX mission; it was preceded by the first two ongoing SMEX missions, Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer (SAMPEX) and Fast Auroral Snapshot Explorer (FAST), launched in 1992 and 1996, which have provided enormous scientific return for the investment. The Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) SMEX was recently selected for launch in 2006. The UNEX program, after the great success of the Student Nitric Oxide Explorer (SNOE), launched in February 1998, has effectively been cancelled. This least expensive component of the Explorer program plays a role similar to that of the sounding rocket program, with higher risk accompanying lower cost and a great increase in the number of flight opportunities. An increase in funding to $20 million per mission with one launch per year would make this program viable with modest resources. 2. The SMEX and MIDEX programs should be vigorously maintained and the UNEX program should quickly be revitalized. The STP line of missions defined in the NASA Sun-Earth Connection (SEC) Roadmap (strategic planning for 2000 to 2025) has the potential to form the backbone of A-I-M research in the next decade. The missions that are part of the current program include TIMED, launched in February 2002, Solar-B, the Solar Terrestrial Relations
64 Space Studies Board Annual Report 2003 Observatory (STEREO), MMS, GEC, and MagCon. After TIMED, launched in February 2002, the next A-I-M/ STP mission, MMS, is in the process of instrument selection for a 2009 launch. The STP cadence, with one A-I-M mission per decade (TIMED was significantly delayed), has fallen behind the NASA SEC Roadmap projections. 3. The panel heartily endorses the STP line of missions and strongly encourages an increase in the launch cadence, with GEC and MagCon proceeding in parallel. The A-I-M research community has very successfully utilized the infrastructure developed within the Inter- national Solar-Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) program. The integration of the data from spacecraft and ground-based programs beyond those funded by the ISTP itself such as those of NOAA, LANL, and the DOD have contributed substantially to our understanding of the global system. Comparisons between the Sun-Earth system and other Sun-planet or stellar-planet systems provide important insights into the underlying physical and chemical processes that govern A-I-M interactions. Improved understand- ing of A-I-M coupling phenomena such as planetary and terrestrial auroras would benefit from such an approach. 4. The Sun-Earth Connection program partnership with the NASA Solar System Exploration program should be revitalized. A dedicated planetary aeronomy mission should be pursued vigorously, and the Discovery Program should remain open to A-I-M-related missions. NASA Suborbital Program The NASA Suborbital program has produced outstanding science throughout its lifetime. Many phenomena have been discovered using rockets, rockoons, and balloons, and many outstanding problems brought to closure, particularly when space-based facilities are teamed with ground-based facilities. These phenomena include the auroral acceleration mechanism, plasma bubbles at the magnetic equator, the charged nature of polar mesospheric clouds, and monoenergetic auroral beams. This program continues to generate cutting-edge science with new instruments and data rates that are more than an order of magnitude greater than typical satellite data rates. Both unique altitude ranges and very specific geophysical conditions are accessible only to sounding rockets and balloons, particularly in the campaign mode. Many current satellite experimenters were trained in the Suborbital program, and high-risk instrument development can occur only in such an environment. To accomplish significant training, it is necessary that a graduate student remain in a project from start to finish and that some risk be acceptable; both are very difficult in satellite projects. The high scientific return, coupled with training of future generations of space-based experimenters, makes this program highly cost-effective. The sounding rocket budget has been level-funded for over a decade, and many principal investigators (PIs) are discouraged about the poor proposal success rate as well as the low number of launch opportunities. The sounding rocket program was commercialized in 2000; in this changeover, approximately 50 civil service positions were lost and the cost of running the program increased. Approved campaigns were delayed by up to a year and it is not yet clear whether the launch rate will ever return to precommercialized levels. Effectively, commercialization has meant a significant decline in funding for the sounding rocket program. An additional concern is that, as currently structured i.e., with a fixed, 3-year cycle for all phases of a sounding rocket project funding is not easily extended to allow graduate students to complete their thesis work, because it is generally thought that such work should fall under the SR&T program, already oversubscribed. The rocket program has a rich history of scientific and educational benefit and provides low-cost access to space for university and other researchers. Further erosion of this program will result in fewer and fewer young scientists with experience in building flight hardware and will ultimately adversely affect the much more expensive satellite programs. 5. The Suborbital program should be revitalized and its funding should be reinstated to an inflation- adjusted value matching the funding in the early 1980s. To further ensure the vibrancy of the Suborbital program, an independent scientific and technical panel should be formed to study how it might be changed to better serve the community and the country.
Summaries of Major Reports 65 Societal Impact Program The practical impact on society of variations in the A-I-M system falls into two broad categories: the well- established effects of space weather variations on technology and the less clear yet tantalizing influence of solar variability on climate. The societal impacts of space weather are broad—communications, navigation, human radiation hazards, power distribution, and satellite operations are all affected. Space weather is of international concern, and other nations are pursuing parallel activities, which could be leveraged through collaboration. The role of solar variability in climate change remains an enigma, but it is now at least being recognized as important to our understanding of the natural as opposed to anthropogenic sources of climate variability. 6. The study of solar variability both of its short-term effects on the space radiation environment, communications, navigation, and power distribution and of its effect on climate and the upper atmosphere should be intensified by both modeling and observation efforts. NASA's Living With a Star program should be implemented, with increased resources for the geospace component. Missions such as the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite Systems (NPOESS) and the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) are needed to provide vital data to the science community for monitoring long-term solar irradiance. NPOESS should be developed to provide ionosphere and upper atmosphere observations to fill gaps in measurements needed to understand the A-I-M system. An L1 monitor should be a permanent facility that provides the solar wind measurements crucial to determining the response of the A-I-M system to its external driver, and the NSWP should be strengthened and used as a template for interagency cooperation. International participation in such large-scope programs as LWS and NSWP is essential. 7. The NOAA, DOE/LANL, and DOD operational spacecraft programs should be sustained, and DOD launch opportunities should be utilized for specialized missions such as geostationary airglow imagers, auroral oval imagers, and neutral/ionized medium sensors. NASA's new Living With a Star program can, over the next decade, provide substantial new resources to address these goals. It is crucial that there be overlap between the geospace and solar mission components of LWS for the system to be studied synergistically, that resources be adequate for the geospace component, and that theory, modeling, and a comprehensive data system, which will replace the ISTP infrastructure, be defined at the outset, as called for in the Science Architecture Team (SAT) report findings. NSWP, a multiagency endeavor established in 1995, addresses the potentially great societal impact of physical processes from the Sun to Earth that affect the near- Earth environment in ways as diverse as terrestrial weather. The program specifically addresses the need to transition scientific research into operations and to assist users affected by the space environment. Such multiagency cooperation is essential for progress in predicting the response of the near-Earth space environment to short-term solar variability. The interagency cooperation established in the NSWP is outstanding and is a model for extracting the maximum benefit from scientific and technical programs. It has also been effective at bringing together different scientific disciplines and the scientific and operations communities. Interagency cooperation has worked well in the AFOSRINSF Maui Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere Program, and it has been key to the success of the NOAA GOES and POES programs of meteorological satellites with space environment monitoring capabilities. Inter- national multiagency cooperation has been very successful for the ISTP program, which involves U.S., European, Japanese, and Russian space agencies. Global studies require such international cooperation. The panel recognizes that much more science can be extracted by careful coordination of ground- and space-based programs. Maximizing Scientific Return Funding for NASA's Supporting Research and Technology program, including guest investigator studies and focused theory, modeling, and data assimilation efforts, is essential for maximizing the scientific return from large investments in spacecraft hardware.
66 Supporting Research and Technology Space Studies Board Annual Report 2003 While spacecraft hardware projects are concentrated at relatively few institutions, the NASA SR&T program is the primary vehicle by which independent investigations can be undertaken by the broader community. Likewise, NSF helps individual investigators to carry out targeted research through its Division of Atmospheric Science (ATM) base programs SHINE, CEDAR, and GEM. Such individual PI-driven initiatives are the most inclusive, with data analysis as well as theoretical efforts and laboratory studies, and often lead to the highest science return per dollar spent. The funding for such program elements falls far short of the scientific opportunities, with the current success rate for submitted NASA SR&T proposals being 10 to 20 percent. Furthermore, limited available SR&T funds have been used for guest investigator participation in underfunded STP-class flight programs. Without adequate MO&DA funding for NASA orbital and suborbital programs, the SR&T budget intended for targeted research on focused scientific questions has been utilized to support broader data analysis objectives. 8. The funding for the SR&T program should be increased, and STP-class flight programs should have their own targeted postlaunch data analysis support. 9. A new small grants program should be established within NSF that is dedicated to comparative atmo- spheres, ionospheres, and magnetospheres (C-A-I-M). A new C-A-I-M grants program at NSF would allow the techniques (modeling, ground-, and space-based observations, and in situ measurements) that have so successfully been applied to A-I-M processes at Earth to be used to understand A-I-M processes at other planets. Such a comparative approach would improve our understand- ing of these processes throughout the solar system, including at Earth. Currently, a modest $2 million planetary science program at NSF covers all of solar system science (except for solar and terrestrial studies), with only a small fraction going to planetary A-I-M research. Theory, Modeling, and Data Assimilation Theory and modeling provide the framework for interpreting, understanding, and visualizing diverse measure- ments at disparate locations in the A-I-M system. There is now a pressing need to develop and utilize data assimilation techniques not only for operational use in specifying and forecasting the space environment but also to provide the tools to tackle key science questions. The modest level of support from the NSF base programs (CEDAR, GEM, SHINE) and NASA SR&T has been inadequate to build comprehensive, systems-level models. Rather, individual pieces have been built, and first stages of model integration achieved with funding from such programs as NASA's ISTP program and its Sun-Earth Connections Theory Program (SECTP), the AFOSR MURI program, NSF Science and Technology Center programs, and the multiagency support to such efforts as the Community Coordinated Modeling Center. Such programs enable the development of theory and modeling infrastructure, including models to address the dynamic coupling between neighboring geophysical regions. Their value to the research community is clearly their provision of longer-term funding, which has been essential to developing a comprehensive program outside the purview of SR&T. 10. The development and utilization of data assimilation techniques should be enhanced to optimize model and data resources. The panel endorses support for theory and model development at the level of the NASA Sun-Earth Connections Theory Program, the AFOSR/ONIt MUItI program, NSF Science and Technology Center programs, and the multiagency support to such efforts as the Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC). Support should be enhanced for large-scope, integrative modeling that applies to the coupling of neighboring geophysical regions and physical processes, which are explicit in one model and implicit on the larger scale. The preceding science recommendations can be grouped into three cost categories and prioritized. Equal weight is given to STP and LWS lines, as indicated by funding level. Small programs are ranked by resource allocation, while the Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar is the highest priority moderate initiative at lower cost than others.
Summaries of Major Reports Report of the Pane' on Theory, Modeling, and Data Exploration Summary 67 Today, space and solar physics presents both great opportunities and challenges, stemming from a science that is changing character from strongly exploratory and discovery driven to more mature and explanatory driven. Furthermore, the societal and economic impacts of solar and space physics, through the forecasting of space weather, have become increasingly important. The opportunities, challenges, and societal and economic impacts place significant new demands on theory, modeling, and data exploration. Theory and modeling act to interpret observations, making them meaningful within the context of basic physics. Frequently, theory reveals that seemingly disparate observed phenomena correspond to the same physical processes in a system (or better yet, in many systems). Furthermore, besides their roles in organization and understanding, theory and modeling can predict otherwise unexpected but important or relevant phenomena that may subsequently be observed and that might otherwise not have been discovered. This report of the Panel on Theory, Modeling, and Data Exploration provides a brief survey of key aspects of theory, modeling, and data exploration and offers four major recommendations. The survey is not exhaustive but instead emphasizes basic issues concerning the nature of theory and its integrative role in modeling and data exploration. The panel offers a new synthesis for the organization and integration of space physics theory, modeling, and data exploration: coupling complexity in space plasma systems. "Coupling complexity" refers to the class of problems or systems that consist of significantly different scales, regions, or particle populations and for which more than one set of defining equations or concepts is necessary to understand the system. For example, the heliosphere contains cosmic rays, solar wind, neutral atoms, and pickup ions, each of which interacts with the others but needs its own set of equations and coupling terms. Similarly, the ionosphere-thermosphere and magnetosphere are different regions governed by distinct physical processes. From this synthesis, the four major recommendations flow naturally. They are designed to (1) dramatically improve and expand space physics theory and modeling by embracing the idea of coupling complexity (or, equivalently, nonlinearity and multiscale and multiprocess feedback) within space plasma systems, (2) increase access to diverse data sets and substantially augment the ability of individual investigators to explore space physics phenomenology by redesigning the archiving, acquisition, and analysis of space physics data sets, (3) strengthen the role of theory and data analysis in space-based and ground-based missions, and (4) support and strengthen the application of space physics research to economic, societal, and governmental needs, especially in areas where space weather and space climatology impact human activities and technological systems. THE COUPLING COMPLEXITY RESEARCH INITIATIVE For theoreticians, modelers, and data analysts, the great challenges of space physics often result from the closely intertwined and integrated coupling of different spatial regions, disparate scales, and multiple plasma and atomic constituents in the solar, interplanetary, geospace, and planetary environments. To embrace the demands imposed by hierarchical coupling or coupling complexity nonlinearity and multiscale, multiprocess, multi- regional feedback in space physics space physicists must address a number of challenges: . . . . . . . .. .. . .. . . . . · Formulation of sophisticated models that incorporate disparate scales, processes, and regions and the development of analytic theory; · Computation; · Incorporation of coupling complexity into computational models; · Integration of theory, modeling, and space- and ground-based observations; · Data exploration and assimilation; and · Transition of scientific models to operational status in, for example, space weather activities. Recommendation 1. NASA should take the lead in creating a new research program the Coupling Complexity Research Initiative to address multiprocess coupling, nonlinearity, and multiscale and multi-
68 Space Studies Board Annual Report 2003 regional feedback in space physics. The research program should be peer reviewed. It should do the following: · Provide long-term, stable funding for a 5-year period. · Provide sufficiently large grants that critical-mass-sized groups of students, postdoctoral associates. and research scientists, gathered around university and institutional faculty, can be supported. · Provide funding to support adequate computational resources and infrastructure for the successfully funded group. · Facilitate the development and delivery of community-based models. · Use the grants to leverage faculty and permanent positions and funding from home institutions such as universities, laboratories, institutes, and industry. This research program would emphasize the development of coupled global models and the synergistic investigation of well-chosen, distinct theoretical problems that underlie the basic physics inherent in the fully general self-consistent space physics problem. For major advances to be made in understanding coupling complexity in space physics, sophisticated computational tools, fundamental theoretical analysis, and state-of-the- art data analysis must all be brought under a single umbrella program. Thus, computational space physicists, theoreticians working with pen and paper, and data analysts need to be part of a single research program addressing a major problem in space physics. The models and algorithms developed by these research groups will make a major contribution to future National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation (NSF), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) activities, especially those that focus on remote sensing and multipoint measurements. The models/algorithms will (1) couple measurements made at different times and places, (2) integrate the effect of multiscale processes so that the processes can be related to line- of-sight (column-integrated) remote-sensing measurements, and (3) provide a framework within which large multispacecraft data sets can be organized. A fundamental component of this recommendation is that the award of a grant will carry with it the expectation of a commitment from the home institution (university, laboratory, industry) to develop a stable, long-term program in space physics by creating permanent positions; this would provide an intellectual environment within which large research efforts can flourish and would allow for critical-mass efforts. Since nearly 30 groups submitted proposals to the most recent NASA Sun-Earth Connections Theory Program, the panel used this as an indication of the number of large groups that exist currently in the United States. Accordingly, it recommends that the Coupling Complexity Initiative should support 10 groups, each with funding of between $500,000 and $1 million per year. This would require committing $7.5 million to $10 million per year in funding. The panel recommends the formation of a cross-agency commission, with NASA possibly taking the lead through its Living With a Star program, to examine the implementation of a cross-agency Coupling Complexity Initiative. THE GUEST INVESTIGATOR INITIATIVE Related to the five tasks listed in Recommendation 1, data and theory face challenges in two areas: · Integrating theory, modeling, and space- and ground-based observations and · Data exploration and assimilation. To address these points in the context of solar and space physics modeling and data analysis, the panel offers a second recommendation: Recommendation 2. The NASA Guest Investigator program should (1) be mandatory for all existing and new missions, (2) include both space- and ground-based missions, (3) be initiated some 3 to 5 years before launch, and (4) be peer reviewed and competed for annually, with grant durations of up to 3 years. Funding, at a minimum equivalent to 10 percent of the instrument cost, should be assigned to the Guest Investigator program and should explicitly support scientists working on mission-related theory and data analysis.
Summaries of Major Reports 69 Further, the Guest Investigator program for each mission should have the same status as a mission instrument. Other agencies should also consider guest investigator initiatives with their programs. The panel strongly supports and endorses the current NASA Guest Investigator program and would like to see it strengthened, with similar programs created in other agencies. The implementation of this recommendation would address the very real concerns expressed by many experimentalists that too few theorists play an active role in exploring, interpreting, refining, and extending the observations returned by expensive missions. The panel notes that in an era of "fast missions," an already active cadre of theorists and data explorers should be in place to take full advantage of a newly launched mission. Furthermore, a robust Guest Investigator initiative may also address the concern that NASA expects principal investigators for experiments to submit proposals with extensive science goals but does not provide sufficient funding to support the science. - r--r At least 10 percent of the instrument cost should be assigned to the Guest Investigator program and should be budgeted in the mission costs from the outset. The panel recommends that Guest Investigator programs begin a few years prior to launch. A DISTRIBUTED VIRTUAL SPACE PHYSICS INFORMATION SYSTEM This recommendation is intended to increase access to diverse data sets and substantially augment the ability of individual investigators to explore space physics phenomenology by redesigning the archival, acquisition, and analysis of space physics data sets. Recommendation 3. NASA should take the lead in convening a cross-agency consultative council that will assist in the creation of a cross-agency, distributed space physics information system. The SPIS should link (but not duplicate) national and international data archives through a suite of simple protocols designed to encourage participation of all data repositories and investigator sites with minimal effort. The data environment should include both observations and model data sets and may include codes used to generate the model output. The panel's definition of data sets includes simulation output and supporting documentation. Among other tasks, the system should do the following: 1. Maintain a comprehensive online catalog of both distributed and centralized data sets. 2. Generate key parameter (coarse resolution) data and develop interactive Web-based tools to access and display these data sets . 3. Provide higher-resolution data; error estimates; supporting-platform-independent portrayal and analysis software; and appropriate documentation from distributed principal investigator sites. 4. Permanently archive validated high-resolution data sets and supporting documentation at designated sites and restore relevant offline data sets to online status as needed. 5. Develop and provide information concerning standard software, format, timing, coordinate system, and naming conventions. 6. Maintain a software tree containing analysis and translation tools. 7. Foster ongoing dialogues between users, data providers, program managers, and archivists, both within and across agency boundaries. physics. 8. Maintain portals to astrophysics, planetary physics, and foreign data systems. 9. Survey innovations in private business (e.g., data mining) and introduce new data technologies into space 10. Regularly review evolving archival standards. 11. Support program managers by maintaining a reference library of current and past data management plans reviewing proposed data management plans, and monitoring subsequent adherence. The primary objective of this recommendation is to establish a research environment for the disparate data sets distributed throughout the space physics community. By providing a cross-agency framework that encompasses agency-designated archives and PI sites, the proposed space physics information system will enable users to identify, locate, retrieve, and analyze both observations and the results of numerical simulations. The community-
70 Space Studies Board Annual Report 2003 maintained SPIS will facilitate the introduction of innovative data mining techniques and methodology from private business into the scientific community and improve communication between users and data providers. It will assist agency managers and PIs by archiving project data management plans and documenting best practices. The panel recommends that SPIS begin at a modest level and grow only with demonstrated need and success. Periodic competitions for all tasks within the data system will help impose cost constraints. The central node consists of a full-time project scientist, project manager, project engineer, and administrative assistant. The four discipline nodes employ half-time scientists, quarter-time administrators, and half-time programmers. The central and discipline nodes provide the framework to link the various data sets. With the help of advisory committees from the research and operational communities, the central and discipline nodes will identify and fund tasks at more ephemeral suhnc~des. A fully operational system might cost $10 million annually. THE TRANSITION INITIATIVE The applications of space physics research to economic, societal, and governmental needs, especially in areas where space weather and space climatology impact human activities and technological systems, need to be supported and strengthened. For models to be an effective bridge between space physics theory and economic, societal, and governmental needs, they have to address the demands imposed by coupling complexity and be sufficiently robust, validated, documented, standardized, and supported. These additional demands impose significant challenges to the groups that develop models, and the criteria for transitioning a model successfully to operational use are frequently very different from those needed to develop models purely for research purposes. Recommendation 4. NOAA and the Air Force should initiate a program to support external research groups in the transitioning of their models to NOAA and Air Force rapid prototyping centers (RPCs). Program support should include funding for documentation, software standardizing, software support, adaptation of codes for operational use, and validation and should allow for the research group to assist in making the scientific codes operational. The IlPC budgets of the NOAA Space Environment Center and the Air Force Space and Missiles Center/DSMP Technology Applications Division (SMC/CIT) should be augmented to facilitate the timely transition of models. Despite the many solar, heliospheric, and geospace models that can potentially be used for operational space weather forecasting, relatively few have so far been transitioned into operation at the NOAA and Air Force space weather centers. This is due to inadequate resources to support transition efforts, in particular at the NOAA Space Environment Center. The recommended transition initiative addresses this problem directly. Costs, particularly for the Air Force, are difficult to forecast precisely. For NOAA, the panel estimates that $1 million would be required to start and support the first year of operation, with $500,000 per year to support three permanent NOAA staff and an additional $500,000 for operational support, real-time data links, software standard- ization, documentation, and related expenditures. Since the panel anticipates that between three and five codes per year will be readied for transition at a cost of ~$200,000 each, an additional $1 million per year should be available for competition. A conservative annual budget is therefore between $2 million and $2.5 million. The transition initiative should be funded through a partnership between the Air Force and NOAA, with the precise levels of funding determined by the needs of each. The NOAA Space Environment Center and Air Force RPC budgets will have to be augmented and greater industrial and business support developed. Report of the Pane' on Education and Society Summary When considering the status and future of solar and space physics, we must also take into account the role of these disciplines in education at all levels. Solar and space physics is by no means unique in this all areas of science have a responsibility to contribute to education. This responsibility is part of a new post-Cold War social contract between science and society, and it represents a considerable change for scientific communities that had not seen this broader responsibility as part of their core mission. In fact, in the past decade there has been a
Summaries of Major Reports 71 remarkable increase in educational activities by the solar and space physics community because of funding from the NSF and, especially, NASA, both of which have tried to involve the scientific community in science education. However, efforts by the solar and space physics community to enhance science education do not take place in a vacuum. There is increasing recognition of our nation's need for a technically trained workforce and for a scientifically literate citizenry, and in particular for professionals trained in solar and space physics who will be capable of leading our efforts to understand, monitor, and respond to changes in Earth's space environment. Meeting this broad educational challenge requires all scientific communities to examine how they can contribute to meeting national goals in precollege, undergraduate, and graduate science education. Large-scale efforts in K-12 science education reform have been and are being funded by the NSF. Moreover, there is a national movement to improve science education, the so-called "standards" movement, with which solar and space physics K-12 science education efforts must be aligned if we are to have an impact commensurate with the investment. Finally, there is a national need to recruit more students from populations that have historically not been a source of science students. Hispanics, African-Americans, and Native Americans all are becoming an increasing fraction of the undergraduate population, and we as a society need more of them to choose science careers. Several national reports call for larger numbers of graduates in science and engineering fields, as well as for increased science literacy among conscience majors. This requires changes in undergraduate science education. Solar and space physics can, and should, help improve general undergraduate science education, especially in gateway courses such as introductory physics or general education courses such as introductory astronomy. Moreover, by providing undergraduates increased opportunities to do meaningful and exciting research, solar and space physics can contribute to recruiting and retaining science and engineering majors. Solar and space physics also needs to recruit and retain excellent students for graduate study as well, since there is a need for more individuals with graduate science degrees in general, as well as a next generation of solar and space physicists, particularly as issues such as space weather become more important to our society. Based on these considerations and on information gathered at several meetings with leaders in education, policy, and science, and with members of the solar and space physics community, the panel decided on four recommendations to help guide the community's next decade of education efforts. These recommendations, as well as the supporting arguments, are not necessarily unique to solar and space physics. In fact, much of what is contained in this document applies to other areas of science, since the problem that the panel is attempting to address here is systemic and of broad societal import. There are, of course, many areas of uniqueness, such as the tremendous effort made in the past decade by NASA's Office of Space Science (OSS) to significantly improve and expand the contribution of space science to general education. Where possible, the panel tries to point out the unique links to solar and space physics, or examples of how the community can contribute given its particular set of resources, one of the greatest being the enduring public fascination with space. Recommendation 1. A program of "bridged positions" should be established that provides partial salary support, startup funding, and limited research support for four new faculty members per year for 5 years, yielding 20 new faculty lines in solar and space physics at U.S. universities over the next decade. This should be matched with an increased emphasis on solar and space physics research and hardware development at colleges and universities. It is at the college and university level that research and teaching in solar and space physics can have the greatest and most direct impact over the next decade. In order to both increase the awareness of the importance of Earth's space environment among the next generation of the nation's leaders and foster a stronger national cadre of young and expert solar and space scientists, the panel recommends the establishment of program of "bridged positions" faculty positions that are partially supported by outside agencies for 5 years as an incentive for colleges and universities to strengthen (or initiate) programs in these fields. Moreover, agencies should seek ways to support the university research community, particularly those groups that build hardware, so as to maintain a strong link between the academic community, education, and research. Recommendation 2. Federal agencies that fund solar and space physics should set aside funds to support undergraduate research in solar and space physics, either as a supplement to existing grants or as stand- alone programs.
72 Space Studies Board Annual Report 2003 Involving undergraduates in research has proven to be a positive factor in enhancing recruitment and retention of talented science students. Experiential education, which has its roots in the academic science laboratory, is now recognized to play a critical role in the development of both student expertise and confidence in nearly all academic fields. Such research experiences are available in solar and space physics, and resources to increase the ability of faculty to provide research opportunities for students are essential. Recommendation 3. Three resource development groups should be funded over the next decade to develop educational resources (especially at the undergraduate level) needed by the solar and space physics commu- nity, to disseminate those resources, and to provide other services to the community. Solar and space physics research projects already provide numerous images and informal educational opportu- nities for a wide audience in the media, in museums, via the World Wide Web, and to some extent at the K-12 level. As they are relatively new fields, however, relatively few applications or examples from solar and space physics currently appear in textbooks or in supplementary materials, particularly at the undergraduate level. But with sufficient support the popular fascination with space can be used to facilitate a nationwide advance in scientific literacy. Recommendation 4. Current K-12 education and public outreach (EPO) efforts should be continued. However, there should be a careful evaluation of lessons learned over the past few years, particularly regarding the involvement of scientists in EPO activities, as well as increased coordination of NASA EPO efforts with other large projects in science education reform, especially NSF initiatives. During the past few years NASA's OSS has begun to commit significant resources to education and public outreach. At the same time, efforts to revitalize and reform K-12 science education are well under way in several states, often with support from large federal programs, and particularly those funded by NSF. As the NASA efforts mature, the panel encourages closer cooperation and synergy with other existing programs.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: