TABLE 2.1 Summary of 2010 Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey Science Frontiers Panels’ Findings

Panel Science Questions Area(s) of Unusual Discovery Potential
Cosmology and Fundamental Physics (CFP)

CFP 1    How did the universe begin?

Gravitational wave astronomy

CFP 2    Why is the universe accelerating?

CFP 3    What is dark matter?

CFP 4    What are the properties of neutrinos?

Galactic Neighborhood (GAN)

GAN 1  What are the flows of matter and energy in the circumgalactic medium?

Time-domain astronomy astrometry

GAN 2  What controls the mass-energy-chemical cycles within galaxies?

GAN 3  What is the fossil record of galaxy assembly from the first stars to the present?

GAN 4  What are the connections between dark and luminous matter?

Galaxies Across Cosmic Time (GCT)

GCT 1  How do cosmic structures form and evolve?

The epoch of reionization

GCT 2  How do baryons cycle in and out of galaxies, and what do they do while they are there?

GCT 3  How do black holes grow, radiate, and influence their surroundings?

GCT 4  What were the first objects to light up the universe, and when did they do it?

Planetary Systems and Star Formation (PSF)

PSF 1    How do stars form?

Identification and characterization of nearby habitable exoplanets

PSF 2    How do circumstellar disks evolve and form planetary systems?

PSF 3    How diverse are planetary systems?

PSF 4    Do habitable worlds exist around other stars, and can we identify the telltale signs of life on an exoplanet?

Stars and Stellar Evolution (SSE)

SSE 1    How do rotation and magnetic fields affect stars?

Time-domain surveys

SSE 2    What are the progenitors of Type Ia supernovas and how do they explode?

SSE 3    How do the lives of massive stars end?

SSE 4    What controls the mass, radius, and spin of compact stellar remnants?

SOURCE: National Research Council, New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2010, p. 247.

Comparison of WFIRST and Euclid Capabilities and Science Goals

WFIRST is a 1.5-meter space telescope with a near-infrared (NIR) imager and a near-infrared spectrometer-camera. Its NIR detectors have some sensitivity in the visible red, but WFIRST is primarily an infrared platform. In conception, it combines three overarching goals: (1) to use the three primary

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