Policy Recommendations for the 90's: Laboratory Astrophysics


* A coordination across directorates is essential for laboratory astrophysics because of its interdisciplinary nature. Too often we hear of important laboratory projects falling through the NSF cracks because they are "not of prime interest to the nuclear or atomic or ... communities," while at the same time Astronomy says that "this is nuclear or atomic or ..., not astronomy."


* The need for laboratory data for NASA missions goes beyond individual missions. NASA should recognize this broad requirement for laboratory data as they have done for theory.


* These agencies should recognize that acquiring laboratory atomic, molecular, optical and nuclear data relevant to astronomy is appropriate to their missions and should be supported.


The future of astronomy is dependent on maintaining an active and dynamic theoretical community and on making the critical laboratory measurements necessary for future observations. In this report we have attempted to show how to achieve this. The funding agencies should provide a level of funding for Theory which is commensurate with their funding for observational and experimental astronomy. Laboratory astrophysics requires new funds, particularly from NSF and NASA, in order to obtain the data that is essential for the interpretation of astronomical observations. The successes of the 1980's and the opportunities for the 1990's show that support for these programs is necessary if astronomy is to achieve its goals in the coming decade.

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