Tag Archives: space exploration

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 Planets, New Possibilities in Space Research

On Monday a team of NASA astronomers announced the discovery of the first rocky planet orbiting a star outside our solar system. The discovery of the planet, named Kepler-10b, was the result of data collected by the Kepler spacecraft, launched by NASA in March 2009.

Remember when grade school astronomy consisted mainly of knowing the names of the nine planets in order from the sun? We have come a long way from the astronomy taught to us even 10 years ago. In recent decades, significant progress in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics has brought about a revolution in understanding of the origins and nature of our universe. Hundreds of planets of startling diversity have been discovered orbiting distant suns. Black holes, once viewed as exotic theoretical possibilities, are now known to be present at the center of most galaxies, including our own. Precision measurements of the primordial radiation left by the big bang have enabled astronomers to determine the age, size, and shape of the universe. Recent discoveries, powerful new ways to observe the universe, and bold new ideas to understand it have created unprecedented scientific opportunities.

So how can we make the most of these opportunities to better understand our universe? New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, a new book from the National Research Council, outlines a plan for ground- and space- based astronomy and astrophysics for the coming decade. This book, based on comprehensive input from the astronomy and astrophysics community, presents exciting yet realistic recommendations.

A companion volume, Panel Reports–New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics features a collection of reports on various sub-areas of astronomy and astrophysics. Each of these reports played an important role in setting overall priorities.

These titles and others can guide future research and decision making.

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…
Details

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, entitled New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, provides overall…
Details

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…
Details

Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era of Space Exploration Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era of Space Exploration: An Interim Report

In response to requests from Congress, NASA asked the National Research Council to undertake a decadal survey of life and physical sciences in microgravity. Developed in consultation with members of the life and physical sciences communities, the guiding…
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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…
Details

An Enabling Foundation for NASA's Space and Earth Science Missions An Enabling Foundation for NASA’s Space and Earth Science Missions

NASA’s space and Earth science program is composed of two principal components: spaceflight projects and mission-enabling activities. Most of the budget of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is applied to spaceflight missions, but NASA identifies nearly…
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Revitalizing NASA's Suborbital Program Revitalizing NASA’s Suborbital Program: Advancing Science, Driving Innovation, and Developing a Workforce

Suborbital flight activities, including the use of sounding rockets, aircraft, and high-altitude balloons, and suborbital reusable launch vehicles, offer valuable opportunities to advance science, train the next generation of scientists and engineers, and…
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America's Future in Space America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs

As civil space policies and programs have evolved, the geopolitical environment has changed dramatically. Although the U.S. space program was originally driven in large part by competition with the Soviet Union, the nation now finds itself in a post-Cold War…
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Radioisotope Power Systems Radioisotope Power Systems: An Imperative for Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Space Exploration

Spacecraft require electrical energy. This energy must be available in the outer reaches of the solar system where sunlight is very faint. It must be available through lunar nights that last for 14 days, through long periods of dark and cold at the higher…
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Approaches to Future Space Cooperation and Competition in a Globalizing World Approaches to Future Space Cooperation and Competition in a Globalizing World: Summary of a Workshop

Numerous countries and regions now have very active space programs, and the number is increasing. These maturing capabilities around the world create a plethora of potential partners for cooperative space endeavors, while at the same time heightening…
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Seven New Books: Sea Turtles, Space Exploration, and more

This past week, there were seven new publications on the NAP site, six of which have free PDFs. There were prepublications covering space exploration, climate, and sea turtles.

All New Publications This Week

Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millenia (prepublication)

Assessment of Sea-Turtle Status and Trends: Integrating Demography and Abundance (prepublication)

Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era of Space Exploration: An Interim Report (prepublication)

Controlling Cost Growth of NASA Earth and Space Science Missions (prepublication)

A Scientific Assessment of Alternatives for Reducing Water Management Effects on Threatened and Endangered Fishes in California’s Bay Delta (final)

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

Final Report of The National Academies’ Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee and 2010 Amendments to the National Academies’ Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research (final)