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Executive Summary
Pages 1-6

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From page 1...
... suggest alternative options for addressing issues in the management and organization of astronomical and astrophysical research. NASA and NSF asked the National Research Council to carry out the rapid assessment requested by the President.
From page 2...
... NSF's strength in astronomy and astrophysics has been the support of a broad spectrum of basic research motivated by the initiative of individuals and small groups in the scientific community and by its role in assuring the continued availability of broadly educated scientists. The NSF also funds research in related fields such as physics, geophysics, computation, chemistry, and mathematics, providing a broad multidisciplinary context for astronomy and astrophysics research that can promote productive connections among these fields.
From page 3...
... In Chapter 1 the committee discusses the discipline of astronomy and astrophysics and the role of the periodic self-assessments carried out by the community.6 Chapter 2 summarizes the roles and responsibilities of NASA and NSF and discusses some key aspects of their missions, pro4It would be unreasonable to consolidate under NSF, i.e., to place space missions under NSF, since NSF has no space experience, does not operate its own facilities, and does not have a large enough budget to carry out space missions. Additional important federal components include the Department of Energy, which conducts research in particle, high-energy, nuclear, and plasma physics and in computational science related to astronomy and astrophysics; the Smithsonian Institution, which plays a significant role in astronomy and astrophysics research through the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; and the Department of Defense, which supports research in areas such as solar physics, astrometric astronomy, and observing technology that is carried out primarily through multiple programs in the Navy and Air Force research offices.
From page 6...
... Chapter 2 also describes the need for more cooperation and coordination between these two primary funding agencies for the discipline, and it mentions a few related issues that affect the implementation of the recommendations that arise from the community's self-assessments. Chapter 3 specifically addresses the advantages and disadvantages of moving NSF's astronomy and astrophysics responsibilities to NASA.

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