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ISS News

Atlas of ISS Science

By Keith Cowing
August 23, 2012
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NASA Contract Award to Resources for the Future: Measuring Research Performance in Space Station Research (redacted copy)
“Our objective is to design an Atlas of ISS Science, a systematic, rigorous and peer-reviewed framework and analysis that is then visually displayed to compellingly characterize and demonstrate the new knowledge created from the nation’s “lab aloft”. In essence, the Atlas, and the data and analysis on which it is built, will be the visual representation of the metaphor of maximization of “delta K over K – an expression used by the Chief Scientist of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to appeal to the science community to define, as a task of scientific leadership, how the agency’s research changes our knowledge relative to what we know.”
Keith’s note: NASA JSC PAO worked to provide NASAWatch with this document in response to an inquiry submitted in assocation with an earlier post: Cryptic Space Station Procurement From JSC
2 Applications research is a critical component of the ISS as a national laboratory; however, the goal of this proposal is to design a science of science framework for the basic science research on ISS. The protocol we develop has applicability to applications research, however. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) is developing a database to attempt to evaluate economic benefits/performance through its portfolio, and we may be able to leverage this to some extent if CASIS has advanced its model of their early research portfolio around year 3 of our proposed effort. We have included the opportunity for CASIS to send a representative to our proposed external steering group to allow regular exchange of information.”
Keith’s note: I am surprised (actually no I am not) that CASIS has made zero mention of this Atlas of ISS Science effort thus far. Also, it seems a bit odd that the Resources for the Future team doesn’t plan to talk to CASIS until year 3 of their task i.e. 2015. It certainly sounds like NASA is engaged in yet another well-intentioned, but parallel and somewhat stovepiped activity when it should be combining efforts for maxiumum synergistic efficiency – and making this information available much sooner than seems to be their plan.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.