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Space Studies Board Annual Report 2005 1 Charter and Organization of the Board THE ORIGINS OF THE SPACE SCIENCE BOARD The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was chartered by Congress, under the leadership of President Abraham Lincoln, to provide scientific and technical advice to the government of the United States. Over the years, the advisory program of the institution has expanded, leading to the establishment of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the Institute of Medicine, and of the National Research Council (NRC), the operational arm of the National Academies. The original charter of the Space Science Board was established in June 1958, three months before NASA opened its doors. The Space Science Board and its successor, the Space Studies Board (SSB), have provided expert external and independent scientific and programmatic advice to NASA on a continuous basis from NASA’s inception until the present. The Board has also provided such advice to other agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Department of Defense, and responds to requests from Congress. The fundamental charter of the Board today remains that defined by National Academy of Sciences President Detlev W. Bronk in a letter to Lloyd V. Berkner, first chair of the Board, on June 26, 1958: We have talked of the main task of the Board in three parts—the immediate program, the long-range program, and the international aspects of both. In all three we shall look to the Board to be the focus of the interests and responsibilities of the Academy-Research Council in space science; to establish necessary relationships with civilian science and with governmental science activities, particularly the proposed new space agency, the National Science Foundation, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency; to represent the Academy-Research Council complex in our international relations in this field on behalf of American science and scientists; to seek ways to stimulate needed research; to promote necessary coordination of scientific effort; and to provide such advice and recommendations to appropriate individuals and agencies with regard to space science as may in the Board’s judgment be desirable. As we have already agreed, the Board is intended to be an advisory, consultative, correlating, evaluating body and not an operating agency in the field of space science. It should avoid responsibility as a Board for the conduct of any programs of space research and for the formulation of budgets relative thereto. Advice to agencies properly responsible for these matters, on the other hand, would be within its purview to provide. Thus, the Space Studies Board exists to provide an independent, authoritative forum for information and advice on all aspects of space science and applications, and it serves as the focal point within the National Academies for activities on space research. It oversees advisory studies and program assessments, facilitates international research coordination, and promotes communications on space science and science policy between the research community, the federal government, and the interested public. The SSB also serves as the U.S. National Committee for the Committee on Space Research of the International Council for Science (ICSU).
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Space Studies Board Annual Report 2005 THE SPACE STUDIES BOARD TODAY The Space Studies Board is a unit of the NRC’s Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences (DEPS), and it reports to the division for oversight. DEPS is one of six major program units of the NRC through which the institution conducts its operations on behalf of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Within DEPS there are a total of 14 boards that cover a broad range of physical science and engineering disciplines and mission areas. Members of the DEPS Committee on Engineering and Physical Sciences provide advice on Board membership and advise on proposed new projects to be undertaken by the Board or its committees. Every 3 years the DEPS Committee also reviews the overall operations of each of its boards, with the most recent review of the SSB having been conducted in September 2004. The Board ordinarily meets three times per year to review the activities of its committees and to be briefed on and discuss major space policy issues. An internal executive committee composed of approximately 7 at-large members of the Board meets at least once a year and may convene via conference call at other times to plan for SSB activities and to advise the chair between meetings. All projects proposed to be conducted by ad hoc study committees must first be reviewed and approved by the Board or its executive committee, and the Board monitors the progress of the projects throughout the course of the studies. MAJOR FUNCTIONS Oversight of Space Research Disciplines The Board has responsibility for scientific planning and oversight in the basic subdisciplines of space research. This responsibility is discharged through a structure of discipline-oriented standing committees. The standard vehicle for providing long-term research guidance is the decadal survey which is conducted by an ad hoc committee. In addition, other ad hoc committees periodically prepare formal assessment reports that examine progress in their disciplines in comparison with published NRC advice. From time to time, in response to a sponsor or Board request or to circumstances requiring a prompt and focused comment, an ad hoc committee may be formed to prepare a short, or “letter,” report. Ad hoc committees may also be called on by the Board to prepare specialized material for use by either the Board or other interdisciplinary committees. Interdisciplinary Studies Although the emphasis traditionally has been on discipline planning and evaluation, the Board also recognizes a need for crosscutting technical and policy studies. To accomplish these objectives, the Board creates ad hoc committees that resemble standing committees in structure and operation, except that they have predefined lifetimes, typically 1 to 3 years, and more narrowly bounded charters. The Board also organizes topical workshops and exercises the NRC’s convening function in other special activities. International Representation and Cooperation The Board serves as the U.S. National Committee for ICSU’s Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), an international, multidisciplinary forum for exchanging space science research. Board members may individually participate in COSPAR scientific sessions to present their research or, occasionally, to present the results of an SSB report to the international community. The Board also has a regular practice of exchanging observers with the European Space Science Committee (ESSC), an entity of the European Science Foundation, and on occasion conducts informal information exchange sessions with national entities such as Japan and China within COSPAR scientific assemblies. ORGANIZATION The organization of the SSB in 2005 is illustrated in Figure 1.1. Taken together, the Board and its committees generally hold as many as 40 meetings during the year.
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Space Studies Board Annual Report 2005 FIGURE 1.1 Organization of the Space Studies Board, its standing committees, and ad hoc committees. Shaded boxes denote activities performed in cooperation with other National Research Council units plus the National Academy of Public Administration.
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Space Studies Board Annual Report 2005 The Space Studies Board The Board comprises over 20 prominent scientists, engineers, industrialists, scholars, and policy experts in space research, appointed for staggered terms. In 2005, there were 26 Board members. The Board is constituted in such a way as to include its standing committee chairs as members; other Board members serve on the Executive Committees or perform other special functions as designated by the Board chair. The chair of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) and the U.S. representative to COSPAR are ex officio members. A standing liaison arrangement also has been established with the chair of the ESSC and the Ocean Studies Board. Executive Committee The Executive Committee, composed entirely of Board members, facilitates the conduct of the Board’s business, permits the Board to move rapidly to lay the groundwork for new study activities, and provides strategic planning advice. The Executive Committee meets annually for a session on assessment of SSB operations and future planning. Standing Committees Standing discipline committees are the means by which the Board conducts its oversight of space research disciplines. Each discipline committee is composed of about a dozen specialists, appointed to represent the broad sweep of research areas within the discipline. In addition to assisting in developing long-range research strategies and formal program and progress assessments in terms of these strategies, the standing committees sometimes organize ad hoc studies and provide oversight of the study committees created to conduct such studies. They also perform analysis tasks in support of interdisciplinary task groups and committees or in response to other requirements assigned by the Board. The standing committees in 2005 were as follows: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA) Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX) Committee on Solar and Space Physics (CSSP) Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life (COEL) Committee on Earth Studies (CES) Committee on Space Biology and Medicine (CSBM) Committee on Microgravity Research (CMGR) Ad Hoc Committees Ad hoc committees are created by NRC action at the Board’s request to conduct specific studies at the request of sponsors. These committees, detailed in Chapter 3, produce reports containing advice and recommendations to sponsors, primarily government agencies. Workshops, Symposia, Meetings of Experts, and Other Special Projects Topical workshops, symposia, or meetings of experts are organized occasionally by the Board to provide the most effective vehicle for addressing certain needs of the government or the research community. COLLABORATION WITH OTHER NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL UNITS Much of the work of the Board involves topics that fall entirely within its principal areas of responsibility and can be addressed readily by its members and committees. However, there are other situations in which the need for breadth of expertise, alternative points of view, or synergy with other NRC projects leads to collaboration with other units of the NRC. The Space Studies Board has engaged in many such multiunit collaborations, and the increasingly interdisciplinary, multidimensional character of contemporary science and technology is likely to lead to more cross-NRC activities. This approach to projects has the potential to bring more of the full capability of the National
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Space Studies Board Annual Report 2005 TABLE 1.1 Space Studies Board Reports Released in 2005 Report Title Oversight Committee or Boarda Principal Agency Audienceb SMD ESMD NOAA NSF Other The Astrophysical Context of Life COEL X X The Atacama Large Millimeter Array: Implications of a Potential Descope CAA X Earth Science and Applications from Space: Urgent Needs and Opportunities to Serve the Nation [Interim Report] CES X X Extending the Effective Lifetimes of Earth Observing Research Missions CES X X Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars (prepublication) Ad Hoc X Principal-Investigator-Led Missions in the Space Sciences (prepublication) Ad Hoc X Priorities in Space Science Enabled by Nuclear Power and Propulsion [Executive Summary] (prepublication) Ad Hoc X X Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences (prepublication) Ad Hoc X Review of NASA Plans for the International Space Station (prepublication) Ad Hoc X SOMD Review of Progress in Astronomy and Astrophysics Toward the Decadal Vision: Letter Report CAA X X Science in NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration SSB X X Space Studies Board Annual Report—2004 xx SSB All aOversight committee or board Ad Hoc ad hoc committee CAA Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics CES Committee on Earth Studies COEL Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life SSB Space Studies Board bPrincipal agency audience SMD NASA Science Mission Directorate ESMD NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate SOMD NASA Space Operations Mission Directorate NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NSF National Science Foundation Academies to bear in preparing advice for the government. Multiunit collaborative projects also present new challenges—namely, to manage the projects in a way that achieves economies of scale and true synergy rather than just adding cost or complexity. Collaborative relationships between the SSB and other NRC units during 2005 are illustrated in Figure 1.1. PERFORMANCE MEASURES A summary of all Space Studies Board reports released during 2005 is presented in Table 1.1. Included in that collection were reports of interest to the NASA science offices, the National Science Foundation, and NOAA. Except for the Space Studies Board Annual Report—2004, all reports were subjected to full peer review overseen by the NRC Report Review Committee (RRC). Typically 4 to 7 reviewers (occasionally as many as 12) are selected, on
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Space Studies Board Annual Report 2005 TABLE 1.2 Experts Involved in the Space Studies Board and Its Subunits, January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2005 Number of Board and Committee Members Number of Institutions or Agencies Represented Academia 241 83 Government and national facilitiesa 52 28 Private industry 58 43 Nonprofit and otherb 37 30 Totalc,d 388 184 aIncludes NASA and other U.S. agencies and national facilities (e.g., Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), NOAA). bOther includes foreign institutions and entities not classified elsewhere. cIncludes 39 NAS, NAE, IOM members. dThirty-three SSB members, 355 committee and task group members. the basis of recommendations by National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering section liaisons, SSB members, and staff. The reviewers are subject to approval by the NRC. The identities of external reviewers are not known to a report’s authors until after the review has been completed and the report has been approved by the RRC. The report’s authors, with the assistance of SSB staff, must provide some response to every specific comment from every external reviewer. To ensure that appropriate technical revisions are made to the report and that the revised report complies with NRC policy and standards, the response-to-review process is overseen and refereed by an independent coordinator or monitor, or in some cases both, appointed by the NRC. All of the reviews emphasize the need for scientific and technical clarity and accuracy and for proper substantiation of the findings and recommendations presented in the report. Names of the external reviewers, including the coordinator and/or monitor, are published in the final report, but their individual comments are not released. Another important measure of the capacity of the Board to produce high-quality work derives from the size, breadth, and depth of the cadre of experts who serve on SSB committees or participate in other ways in the activities of the Board. Some highlights of the demographics of the SSB in 2005 are presented in Tables 1.2 and 1.3. During the year, a total of 388 individuals from 83 colleges and universities and 101 other public or private organizations served as formally appointed members of the Board and its committees and task groups. Over 270 individuals participated in SSB activities either as presenters or as invited workshop participants. The report review process is as important as the writing of reports, and during 2005 66 different external reviewers contributed to critiques of draft reports. Overall, more than 700 individuals from 96 academic institutions, 93 industry or nonprofit organizations, and 37 government agencies or offices participated in SSB activities. That number included 50 elected members of the NAS, NAE, and/or the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Being able to draw on such a broad base of expertise is a unique strength of the NRC advisory process. A different way to assess the performance of the SSB is to examine its productivity with respect to study reports. The chart in Figure 1.2 shows the total number of SSB peer-reviewed reports released each year from 1991 through 2005. “Broad” reports include classical scientific strategies (long-range goals and priorities in a particular discipline or set of disciplines) and programmatic strategies or analyses that cross all of an agency’s offices or multiple agencies. “Focused” reports include more narrowly directed topical studies, assessments, and letter reports. Finally, one can also examine the extent to which the Board’s efforts have been relevant to the full range of government interests in civilian space research. Figure 1.3 summarizes the principal federal agency audiences to which SSB reports were directed from 1991 through 2005. Reports on NASA-wide issues were addressed to multiple NASA offices or the whole agency; reports on SMD issues, to the Science Mission Directorate; and reports on ESMD issues, to the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Within NASA, SMD has been the leading sponsor of reports. The “multiple government agencies” category covers reports that were directed to one or more agencies besides NASA—for example, NOAA, NSF, the Department of Energy (DOE), and/or the Department of Defense (DOD). There were also a few reports prepared specifically for NSF.
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Space Studies Board Annual Report 2005 TABLE 1.3 Summary of Participation in Space Studies Board Activities, January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2005 Academia Government and National Facilitiesa Private Industry Nonprofit and Others Total Individuals Board/committee members 241 52 58 37 388 Guest experts 47 89 9 10 155 Reviewers 39 8 11 8 66 Workshop participants 46 61 11 5 123 Total 373 210 89 60 732 NOTE: Counts of individuals are subject to an uncertainty of ±3 due to possible miscategorization. aIncludes government agencies and national facilities (e.g., National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), LANL, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Space Telescope Science Institute, Applied Physics Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Naval Research Laboratory). Total number of NAS, NAE, and/or IOM members 50 Total number of non-U.S. participants 17 Total number of countries represented, including United States 9 Total number of participants by gender 400(M); 98(F) Total number of different institutions represented Academia 96 Government and national facilities 37 Industry 48 Nonprofit and other 45 U.S. government agencies represented: NASA, NOAA, National Science Foundation, NIST, USGS, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Science and Technology Policy, Office of Management and Budget, Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Congress. FIGURE 1.2 Number and type of peer-reviewed Space Studies Board reports published from 1991 through 2005. SSB OUTREACH AND DISSEMINATION Enhancing outreach to a variety of interested communities and improving dissemination of Board reports was a special priority for the SSB during the year. The quarterly newsletter’s print distribution list was expanded and supplemented with an electronic version that continued to attract over 800 subscribers at year’s end. Several kinds of report announcements, fliers, and mailing list sign-up cards were designed and used at SSB committee meetings
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Space Studies Board Annual Report 2005 FIGURE 1.3 Principal federal agency audiences for Space Studies Board reports published from 1991 through 2005. NOTE: Totals are inclusive of more than one agency audience per report. and national and international scientific society meetings. The Board teamed with other NRC units (including the Division on Earth and Life Studies, the Board on Physics and Astronomy, the National Academies Press, the Office of News and Public Information, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) to take exhibits to national meetings of the American Geophysical Union and the American Astronomical Society. Popular versions of the three decadal surveys (Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium, New Frontiers in the Solar System, and The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond) continue to be widely distributed to the science community and the general public. As a consequence of these activities, roughly 6,500 additional copies of SSB reports were distributed. Formal reports delivered to government sponsors constitute one of the primary products of the work of the SSB, but the dissemination process has a number of other important elements. The Board is always seeking ways to ensure that its work reaches the broadest possible appropriate audience and that it has the largest beneficial impact. Copies of reports are routinely provided to key executive branch officials, members and staffs of relevant congressional committees, and members of other interested NRC and federal advisory bodies. Members of the press are notified about the release of each new report, and the Board maintains a substantial mailing list for distribution of reports to members of the space research community. The SSB publishes the executive summaries of all new reports in its quarterly newsletter, which is made widely available, both by mail and by e-mail. The Board also offers briefings by committee chairs and members or SSB staff to officials in Congress, the executive branch, and scientific societies. Reports are posted on the SSB Web home page at www.nationalacademies.org/ssb/ssb.html and linked to the institution’s site for reports at www.nap.edu. The SSB also teams with other NRC units to exhibit and distribute copies of reports at meetings of scientific societies such as the American Astronomical Society and the American Geophysical Union. INTERNSHIP PROGRAM The SSB has operated a very successful summer internship program since 1992. The general goal of each internship is to provide a promising undergraduate student an opportunity to work in civil space research policy in the nation’s capital, under the aegis of the National Academies. The intern works with the Board, its committees, and staff on one or more of the advisory projects currently underway.
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