Tag Archives: physical sciences

Beyond the Space Shuttle: Future Directions for Space Exploration and Research

Atlantis blasted off for its final mission last week, marking the end of the space shuttle program. As we look back on what we have learned from the space shuttle and other space research programs, it is amazing to consider how far we can advance knowledge of our own solar system and planets beyond in just a few decades. Looking ahead, where do we go from here?

Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era lays out steps that NASA can take to reinvigorate its partnership with the life and physical sciences research community and develops a forward-looking portfolio of research that will provide the basis for recapturing the excitement and value of human spaceflight. The recommendations of this report can guide the U.S. space program to deliver on new exploration initiatives that serve the nation, excite the public, and place the United States again at the forefront of space exploration for the global good.

Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022 reviews the status of planetary science in the United States and develops a comprehensive strategy that will continue these advances in the coming decade. Drawing on extensive interactions with the broad planetary science community, this book presents a decadal program of science and exploration with the potential to yield revolutionary new discoveries. The program will achieve long-standing scientific goals with a suite of new missions across the solar system and will provide fundamental new scientific knowledge.

In astronomy and astrophysics, recent discoveries, powerful new ways to observe the universe, and bold new ideas to understand it have created scientific opportunities without precedent. New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics proposes a broad-based, integrated plan for space- and ground-based astronomy and astrophysics for the decade 2012-2021. It also lays the foundations for advances in the decade 2022-2031. Panel Reports–New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics is a collection of reports, each of which addresses a key sub-area of the field, prepared by specialists in that subarea, and each of which plays an important role in setting overall priorities for the field.

These books and others from the Space Studies Board and the Board on Physics and Astronomy are fascinating and useful resources for the scientific community and the explorer in all of us.

Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration
Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era

More than four decades have passed since a human first set foot on the Moon. Great strides have been made since in our understanding of what is required to support an enduring human presence in space, as evidenced by progressively more advanced orbiting human…
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Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022
Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022

In recent years, planetary science has seen a tremendous growth in new knowledge. Deposits of water ice exist at the Moon’s poles. Discoveries on the surface of Mars point to an early warm wet climate, and perhaps conditions under which life could have…
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New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics
New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics

Driven by discoveries, and enabled by leaps in technology and imagination, our understanding of the universe has changed dramatically over the course of the last few decades. The fields of astronomy and astrophysics are making new connections to…
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Panel Reports--New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics
Panel Reports–New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics

Every ten years the National Research Council releases a survey of astronomy and astrophysics outlining priorities for the coming decade. The most recent survey, titled New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, provides overall…
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Report of the Panel on Implementing Recommendations from the New Worlds, New Horizons Decadal Survey
Report of the Panel on Implementing Recommendations from the New Worlds, New Horizons Decadal Survey

The 2010 Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey report, New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics (NWNH), outlines a scientifically exciting and programmatically integrated plan for both ground- and space-based astronomy and astrophysics in…
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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions
Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions

Through an examination of case studies, agency briefings, and existing reports, and drawing on personal knowledge and direct experience, the Committee on Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Cooperation on Space and Earth Science Missions found that…
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Defending Planet Earth
Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies

The United States spends approximately $4 million each year searching for near-Earth objects (NEOs). The objective is to detect those that may collide with Earth. The majority of this funding supports the operation of several observatories that scan the sky…
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Capabilities for the Future
Capabilities for the Future: An Assessment of NASA Laboratories for Basic Research

Over the past 5 years or more, there has been a steady and significant decrease in NASA’s laboratory capabilities, including equipment, maintenance, and facility upgrades. This adversely affects the support of NASA’s scientists, who rely on these…
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New This Week: Physical & Life Sciences, NASA, and Hypertension

The end of another week brings us the roundup of all of the new publications that hit our site. If you like any of these pubs, you can use the share buttons to share the article on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site that you can think of, as well as email it to a friend.

Featured Publication

Research at the Intersection of the Physical and Life Sciences (final)

Traditionally, the natural sciences have been divided into two branches: the biological sciences and the physical sciences. Today, an increasing number of scientists are addressing problems lying at the intersection of the two. These problems are most often biological in nature, but examining them through the lens of the physical sciences can yield exciting results and opportunities. For example, one area producing effective cross-discipline research opportunities centers on the dynamics of systems. Equilibrium, multistability, and stochastic behavior–concepts familiar to physicists and chemists–are now being used to tackle issues associated with living systems such as adaptation, feedback, and emergent behavior.

Research at the Intersection of the Physical and Life Sciences discusses how some of the most important scientific and societal challenges can be addressed, at least in part, by collaborative research that lies at the intersection of traditional disciplines, including biology, chemistry, and physics. This book describes how some of the mysteries of the biological world are being addressed using tools and techniques developed in the physical sciences, and identifies five areas of potentially transformative research. Work in these areas would have significant impact in both research and society at large by expanding our understanding of the physical world and by revealing new opportunities for advancing public health, technology, and stewardship of the environment.

This book recommends several ways to accelerate such cross-discipline research. Many of these recommendations are directed toward those administering the faculties and resources of our great research institutions–and the stewards of our research funders, making this book an excellent resource for academic and research institutions, scientists, universities, and federal and private funding agencies.

All New Publications This Week

Revitalizing NASA’s Suborbital Program: Advancing Science, Driving Innovation, and Developing Workforce (prepublication)

Envisioning the 2020 Census (prepublication)

A Population-Based Policy and Systems Change Approach to Prevent and Control Hypertension (prepublication)

Private-Public Sector Collaboration to Enhance Community Disaster Resilience: A Workshop Report (prepublication)

Spectrum Management for Science in the 21st Century (final)

An Enabling Foundation for NASA’s Space and Earth Science Missions (final)

New Books This Week: Data Integrity, Counterterrorism, The Biology Revolution and More

Friday brings us to the close of the week and the usual recap of what’s fresh and new here at nap.edu. Next week’s post may be a little delayed by the Thanksgiving holiday, but if there’s new stuff, we’ll be sure you know.

Featured New Book

Experimentation and Rapid Prototyping in Support of Counterterrorism (final)


The U.S. military forces currently face a nontraditional threat from insurgents and terrorists who primarily employ improvised explosive devices, and have shown a cycle of adaptation of less than 12 months to responses by U.S. forces to counter these attacks. This constantly evolving threat requires U.S. military forces to adapt and respond more rapidly with modified tactics, technologies, and/or equipment.

In response to this need for new technologies, the Rapid Reaction Technology Office (RRTO) was established in 2006 to develop technologies that can mature in 6 to 18 months for purposes of counterterrorism. Although RRTO appears to be successfully fulfilling its mission, the agency seeks to understand and address barriers to and opportunities for meeting future counterterrorism needs–including the need to accelerate the transition of technologies for counterterrorism with an eye to countering emerging and anticipated threats. This book reviews RRTO approaches and provides a set of recommendations for potential improvements to help meet these needs for rapid technology development.

All New Books This Week

Disposal of Legacy Nerve Agent GA and Lewisite Stocks at Deseret Chemical Depot: Letter ReportĀ  (final)

Research at the Intersection of the Physical and Life Sciences (prepublication)

Landscapes on the Edge: New Horizons for Research on Earth’s Surface (prepublication)

Crisis Standards of Care: Summary of a Workshop Series (prepublication)

Review of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Corrosion Prevention Standards for Ductile Iron Pipe (final)

Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and Stewardship of Research Data in the Digital Age (final)

Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2008 (final)

A New Biology for the 21st Century: Ensuring the United States Leads the Coming Biology Revolution (final)

Biographical Memoirs: V. 91