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Space & Planetary Science

2013 Decadal Survey Released

By Keith Cowing
March 8, 2011
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Planetary Science Decadal Survey 2013 – 2022
“The 2013 Decadal Survey will provide an outstanding science program for the next decade building on our strong foundation of success in planetary science. The National Research Council will release the Survey on Monday, March 7, at 5:30 pm Central time. The National Research Council (NRC) conducts studies that provide a science community consensus on key questions posed by NASA and other U.S. Government agencies. The broadest of these studies in NASA’s areas of research are decadal surveys. As the name implies, NASA and its partners ask the NRC once each decade to look out ten or more years into the future and prioritize research areas, observations, and notional missions to make those observations.”
NRC: Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022 – Executive Summary
“Space exploration has become a worldwide venture, and international collaboration has the potential to enrich the program in ways that benefit all participants. The program therefore relies more strongly than ever before on international participation, presenting many opportunities for collaboration with other nations. Most notably, the ambitious and complex Mars Sample Return campaign is critically dependent on a long-term and enabling collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA).”
Report Identifies Priority Missions for Planetary Science in the Next Decade
“A new report from the National Research Council recommends a suite of planetary science flagship missions for the decade 2013-2022 that could provide a steady stream of important new discoveries about the solar system. However, if NASA’s budget over that decade cannot support all of these missions, the agency should preserve smaller scale missions in its New Frontiers and Discovery programs first and delay some or all of the recommended large-scale missions, the report says.”
Outlook dims for interplanetary trips, MSNBC
“Planetary scientists would love to have some samples collected on Mars for delivery back on Earth, and they’re itching to get a closer look at Europa, a moon of Jupiter that may harbor a hidden ocean and perhaps life as well. But they might be stymied during the decade to come, due to the federal government’s tightening financial circumstances. The Mars and Europa missions are the top priorities for flagship robotic missions emerging from a big-picture scientific assessment known as the Decadal Survey. Over the past couple of years, the survey’s organizers have received input from more than 1,600 planetary scientists, and the final results were released today in the form of a National Research Council report titled “Visions and Voyages.”
US Mars mission takes pole position, Nature
“The decadal-survey committee’s recommendations, released on 7 March at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas, relied partly on President Barack Obama’s 2011 budget request, which projected that NASA’s annual planetary-science funding would grow from its current allocation of $1.36 billion to more than $1.6 billion by 2015. But Obama’s 2012 budget foresees that funding dropping to $1.2 billion in 2016. On 3 March, planetary-sciences division director James Green told the NASA Advisory Council’s science committee that this would create indefinite delays for both the Mars and Europa missions.”

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