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Pages 1-6

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From page 1...
... The Academies' decadal surveys are notable in their ability to sample thoroughly the research interests, aspirations, and needs of a scientific community. Through a rigorous process lasting about 2 years, a primary survey committee and "thematic" panels of community members construct a prioritized program of science goals and objectives and define an executable strategy for achieving them.
From page 2...
... The same is true for decadal surveys achieving community consensus on how to advance a field with a 10-year program. Indeed, the committee found no evidence of widespread dissatisfaction about the outcome of a decadal process of prioritizing science activities: no one at the 2012 workshop, or in any other communication to the committee, suggested the outcome was capricious or arbitrary, tied to the composition of the relevant survey committee, or not representative of a community consensus of its highest-priority science goals.
From page 3...
... In the prioritization of planetary science goals, these disciplines underlie the "hottest topics": the search for water and life on Mars or within the icy moons of the outer solar system; the history of volcanism on Venus, the Moon, and on icy satellites; and the composition of comets, asteroids, and planetoids that hold clues to the solar system's formation. Earth science and applications from space and, to a significant extent, heliophysics are focused on complex natural processes: both fields place a high priority on establishing decades of synoptic data.
From page 4...
... Working in the context of such variety of subject and methodology, the decadal process has proven highly adaptable and remained effective in its mission to prioritize science goals and make plans to accomplish them. This report describes many other aspects of the decadal survey prioritization process, including balance in the science program and across the discipline; balance between the needs of current researchers and the development of the future workforce; and balance in mission scale -- smaller, competed programs versus large, strategic missions.
From page 5...
... Despite, and also because of, these misgivings about the value of a stand-alone process for science prioritization, the committee endorses reviewing the "state of the science" before a new survey begins, as distinct from creating a new process to do "science prioritization." Fortunately, there are ongoing activities to facilitate that activity, including the midterm decadal review and the Space Studies Board with its discipline-specific standing committees. NASA advisory committees, including NASA's many assessment and analysis groups (like the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group, the Cosmic Origins Program Anaysis Group, and the Geospace-Management Operations Working Group)
From page 6...
... The committee reviewed the CATE activity that was added to the decadal process in response to the 2008 NASA Authorization Act, which requires an independent cost estimate that can be compared to the budgets provided by mission advocates. The committee concluded that the CATE process has become a best practice of decadal surveys, adding credibility to their implementation plans.

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