Committee on Assessing the Solar System Exploration Program, National Research Council
The Committee on Assessing the Solar System Exploration Program has reviewed NASA's progress to date in implementing the recommendations made in the National Research Council's (NRC's) solar system exploration decadal survey covering the period 2003-2013, New Frontiers in the Solar System, and in its Mars Architecture report, Assessment of NASA's Mars Architecture 2007-2016.2 The committee assessed NASA's progress with respect to each individual recommendation in these two reports, assigning an academic-style grade, explaining the rationale for the grade and trend, and offering 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 the achievement of a 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 when it believed that minor corrective action was possible and desirable. More importantly, the committee did not offer recommendations for some of the activities given 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.