Why is NASA consolidating & restructuring R&A?

• Planetary R&A originally started with a few “Core” programs decades ago based on disciplines (Planetary Atmospheres, Planetary Astronomy, Cosmochemistry, Exobiology (think planetesimals)
• To grow the R&A budget, new program elements were created and added on (planetary accretion)
• Special targeted and focused program elements that should have retired have stayed in the portfolio so that we have a mix of program elements
– Some covering science disciplines and some covering single planetary targets. (differentiation and crust forming)
• With limited budgets and growing numbers of planetary scientists, proposal pressure is increasing and selection rates plummeting

What are the goals of consolidation?

NASA has identified two sets of goals:

1.PSD Director’s Goals:
• To make the structure of the R&A program explainable to those outside of NASA.
• To make it easy for those outside of NASA to compute the amount of money spent on grants.
• To reduce the time between proposal submission and award announcement.

and 2. Program Officers’ Goals:
• To encourage interdisciplinary research.
• To enable PSD strategic decision making.
• To be more flexible in responding to changing research priorities.
• To reduce overlaps between program elements.

Planetary Science Objective:
Ascertain the content, origin, and evolution of the solar system and the potential for life elsewhere.

Establish 5 new core programs aligned with the five basic science themes (which are also our annual performance goals).

• How did the Sun’s family of planets, satellites, and minor bodies form and evolve? (Building New Worlds)
• How do the chemical and physical processes active in our solar system operate, interact and evolve? (How Planetary Systems Work)
• What are the characteristics of the solar system that lead to habitable environments? (Habitable Worlds)
• How did life originate and evolve here on Earth and can that guide our search for life elsewhere? (Exobiology & Evolutionary Biology)
• What are characteristics of planetary objects and environments that pose threats to, or offer potential resources for, humans as we expand our presence into the solar system? (NEOO & PAST)

Building New Worlds
Solar systems origins and evolution will include:
– Protoplanetary Disks
– Early Solar Systems
– Planetary systems
– Primitive bodies
– Life (Studies of characteristics of the solar system that led to the origin of life? e.g. organics, water)

How Planetary systems work
Physical and chemical processes and the major characteristics of the planetary bodies will include:
– Surfaces
– Interiors
– Atmospheres
– Rings
– Magnetospheres and exospheres

Habitable Worlds
Characteristics and distribution of habitable environments will include:
- Early Earth
- Mars
- Icy Worlds
- Exoplanets

Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology: How did life originate and evolve on Earth?
- Prebiotic evolution
- Early evolution of life in the Biosphere
- Evolution of Advanced Life
- Causes of and biological responses to Mass Extinctions

NEOO & Planetary Astronomy: Planetary Observations
- NEO observations
- Payload development for Suborbital
- Ground-based observations
- Suborbital observations

What are modestly healthy and sustainable funding levels for a restructured R&A program?

Planetary Science R&A – path forward
• All ROSES 2013 calls are closed with some reviews yet to be completed – paid with FY14 funding
• Implement some or all of restructuring in ROSES 2014 solicitation – budget dependent
– ROSES 2014 is paid out of FY15 dollars
• Planning a virtual “town hall” for first week of December (week before AGU Fall meeting)
– WebEx, Adobe Connect, Google Hangout etc. but widely advertised and open to everyone
– Will accept comments and recommendations

Posted by: Soderman/SSERVI Staff
Source: NASA HQ

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