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6 Technology Foundations and Small and Medium Scale Sustaining Programs
Pages 166-179

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From page 166...
... The agencies' historical willingness to support a significant range of program scales is a proven strength of the Nation's astrophysics portfolio, and is an even more pressing need today, as made clear by the large costs and long development timescales for the MREFC observatories and flagship missions submitted for consideration to Astro2020. This chapter draws from the Enabling Foundations panel report, as well as from the EOS-1, EOS-2, OIR, RMS and PAG studies, all of which emphasize the need for sustaining a broad range of activities for advancing Astro2020 science goals.
From page 167...
... Instrument: Courtesy of Charlotte Z Bond, et al., "Adaptive optics with an infrared pyramid wavefront sensor at Keck," Journal PREPUBLICATION COPY – SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 6-2
From page 168...
... NASA supports two major technology programs for astrophysics -- APRA and the more recently established SAT program -- to support "blue-sky" and strategic, mission-oriented technology development, respectively. 6.1.1.1 APRA Technology Development APRA's success is grounded in its open, competed calls for early-stage technology development as well as maturation and demonstration of component technologies.2 The technologies developed through this program have advanced NASA's entire range of mission scales -- from suborbital payloads, 1 J
From page 169...
... The APRA technology funding levels are also such that establishing a new laboratory effort is essentially impossible without significant supporting infrastructure provided by the host institution (i.e. leveraging an existing optics, electronics or detector lab, or using institutional start-up funds)
From page 170...
... Chapter 7 discusses this issue, and recommends establishing The Great Observatories Mission and Technology Maturation Program to address this gap. There will, however, still be the need to mature technologies for the Probe class missions, as well as for strategic missions prior to their funding through the Great Observatories Mission and Technology Maturation program Recommendation: NASA should continue funding for the Strategic Astrophysics Technology Program, and should expand proposal calls to include intermediate level technology maturation targeted in strategic areas identified for the competed Probe class missions.
From page 171...
... systems that enable diffraction limited observations, which require significant technology investment. Other areas ripe for investment include, but by no means are limited to, correlators and elements of radio cameras, far-infrared detectors and spectrometers, predictive control for adaptive optics, ultraprecise radial velocity techniques, and advanced fiber positioning systems for massively multiplexed spectrographs.
From page 172...
... All of these programs emphasize scientific return in the near- and long-term, provide opportunities for immediate science (on the timescale of a graduate student education) , and build the foundation for future missions of all sizes.
From page 173...
... Because the pointing platforms are provided by NASA to the investigator teams, the barrier for entry is lower than for the balloon program, where groups typically must develop both the payload and pointing platform. This makes sounding rockets PREPUBLICATION COPY – SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 6-8
From page 174...
... The spacecraft can be commercially procured, meaning that, like the sounding rocket program and unlike the balloon program, teams can benefit from commercially provided infrastructure, and can focus on the instrument and science, potentially lowering the barrier to entry to new PIs and teams. Managing a SmallSat program can be challenging, and support provided by NASA could further increase the range of institutions participating in the program.
From page 175...
... Using the participation by women in mission leadership and science teams as one marker of diversity, one Astro2020 white paper finds that from 2008 – 2016 this participation was well below the representation of women in astronomy and astrophysics as a whole.5 This means that the Explorer program is failing to benefit from the entire available talent base, and the broadest range of the community is not fully engaged in the unique opportunities presented by the program. Effective leadership as PI for a SMEX or MIDEX scale mission requires significant experience and training.
From page 176...
... NASA's PI Launchpad Workshop held in 2019 is another welcome step in efforts to expand the range of future PIs. Additional suggestions are presented in Appendix H, the report of the Panel on an Enabling Foundation for Research, and NASA is also sponsoring a National Academies' study, "Increasing Diversity and Inclusion in the Leadership of Competed Space Science Missions."6 Conclusion: The NASA sponsored NAS study "Increasing Diversity and Inclusion in the Leadership of Competed Space Science Missions" will provide important advice towards broadening participation, and by implementing this advice NASA will strengthen the Explorer Program's overall success.
From page 177...
... , designed to measure and characterize the universe from the cosmic dawn to the epoch of reionization, and the Deep Synoptic Array (DSA) that will pinpoint and study fast radio bursts.7 MSIP has also funded upgrades and new instrumentation on existing telescopes, such as the Keck Planet Finder precision radial velocity instrument, as well as community access to existing facilities such as the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT)
From page 178...
... As evidenced by the number of compelling community white papers, and given the assessments of the PAG, OIR, RMS and EF panels, the survey committee recommends in Chapter 7 expanding the mid-scale programs, including adding elements that ensure its responsiveness to decadal survey priorities. Permission Pending PREPUBLICATION COPY – SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 6-13


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