NRC Space Studies Board Report: Review of Goals and Plans for NASA's Space and Earth Sciences

Status Report From: National Research Council
Posted: Saturday, August 13, 2005


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Executive Summary (Excerpt)

The panel has reviewed six science roadmaps as charged by NASA and Congress. It found that the proposed roadmaps have significant scientific merit and that, with a few notable exceptions, their near-term recommendations are generally consistent with the decadal-scale studies produced by the NRC. The panel believes the Roadmaps are reasonable inputs to NASA's strategic planning process and together provide rationales for future planning that are generally well-supported by the existing NRC decadal-scale studies.

The main sources of gaps and potential missed opportunities in some roadmaps are a shortage of scientific justification for their stated goals and an overly narrow interpretation of the presidential vision by the NASA roadmap teams. If science in pursuit of the exploration vision is to be aligned with the priorities set forth by the scientific community in NRC decadal strategy reports, it will be essential for NASA to embrace the broadly based science program that has been recommended by the 2004 report of the President's Commission on Implementation of United States Space Policy and the 2005 Space Studies Board report "Science in NASA's Vision for Space Exploration". Also, much more should be done to coordinate between the various roadmaps and with other federal agencies. The short time scale for writing the roadmaps and the lack of community input may have contributed to these shortcomings.

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