Grading NASA's Solar System Exploration Program: A Midterm Review, Committee on Assessing the Solar System Exploration Program, NRC


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Full report

Executive Summary

The Committee on Assessing the Solar System Exploration Program has reviewed NASA's progress to date on implementing the recommendations made in the National Research Council's (NRC's) 2003-2013 solar system exploration decadal survey, New Frontiers in the Solar System, and in its Mars architecture report, Assessment of NASA's Mars Architecture 2007-2016.2

For each individual recommendation in these two reports the committee assessed NASA's progress and assigned an academic-style grade, explained the rationale for the grade and trend, and offered recommendations for improvement.

The committee generally sought to develop recommendations in cases where it determined that the grade, the trend, or both were worrisome and that achievement of the decadal survey recommendation would require some kind of corrective action on NASA's part. This usually meant that the committee sought to offer a recommendation when the grade was a "C" or lower.

However, the committee did offer recommendations in connection with some higher grades where it believed minor corrective action was possible and desirable. More importantly, the committee did not offer recommendations for some lower grades, particularly in the enabling technologies area (Chapter 6), because the committee determined that only the restoration of funding and the development of a strategic technology development program would solve these problems.

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