|Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation StrategiesInterim Report
The United States is currently the only country with an active, government-sponsored effort to detect and track potentially hazardous near-Earth objects (NEOs). Congress has mandated that NASA detect and track 90 percent of NEOs that are 1 kilometer in diameter or larger. These objects represent a great potential hazard to life on Earth and could cause global destruction. NASA is close to accomplishing this goal. Congress has more recently mandated that by 2020 NASA should detect and track 90 percent of NEOs that are 140 meters in diameter or larger, a category of objects that is generally recognized to represent a very significant threat to life on Earth if they strike in or near urban areas. Achieving this goal may require the building of one or more additional observatories, possibly including a space-based observatory.
Congress directed NASA to ask the National Research Council to review NASA's near-Earth object programs. This interim report addresses some of the issues associated with the survey and detection of NEOs. The final report will contain findings and recommendations for survey and detection, characterization, and mitigation of near-Earth objects based on an integrated assessment of the problem.
|An Assessment of NASA's National Aviation Operations Monitoring Service
The National Research Council of the National Academies was requested by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to perform an independent assessment of NASA's National Aviation Operations Monitoring Service (NAOMS) project, which was a survey administered to pilots from April 2001 through December 2004.
The NRC reviewed various aspects of the NAOMS project, including the survey methodology, and conducted a limited analysis of the publicly available survey data. An Assessment of NASA's National Aviation Operations Monitoring Service presents the resulting analyses and findings.
|Evaluation of NSF's Program of Grants for Vertical Integration of Research and Education in the Mathematical Sciences (VIGRE)
In 1998, the National Science Foundation (NSF) launched a program of Grants for Vertical Integration of Research and Education in the Mathematical Sciences (VIGRE). These grants were designed for institutions with PhD-granting departments in the mathematical sciences, for the purpose of developing high-quality education programs, at all levels, that are vertically integrated with the research activities of these departments. To date, more than 50 departments at 40 institutions have received VIGRE awards.
As requested by NSF, the present volume reviews the goals of the VIGRE program and evaluates how well the program is designed to address those goals. The book considers past and current practices for assessing the VIGRE program; draws tentative conclusions about the program's achievements based on the data collected to date; and evaluates NSF's plans for future data-driven assessments. In addition, critical policy and programmatic changes for the program are identified, with recommendations for how to address these changes.
|America's Energy FutureTechnology and Transformation
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Energy touches our lives in countless ways and its costs are felt when we fill up at the gas pump, pay our home heating bills, and keep businesses both large and small running. There are long-term costs as well: to the environment, as natural resources are depleted and pollution contributes to global climate change, and to national security and independence, as many of the world's current energy sources are increasingly concentrated in geopolitically unstable regions. The country's challenge is to develop an energy portfolio that addresses these concerns while still providing sufficient, affordable energy reserves for the nation.
The United States has enormous resources to put behind solutions to this energy challenge; the dilemma is to identify which solutions are the right ones. Before deciding which energy technologies to develop, and on what timeline, we need to understand them better.
America's Energy Future analyzes the potential of a wide range of technologies for generation, distribution, and conservation of energy. This book considers technologies to increase energy efficiency, coal-fired power generation, nuclear power, renewable energy, oil and natural gas, and alternative transportation fuels. It offers a detailed assessment of the associated impacts and projected costs of implementing each technology and categorizes them into three time frames for implementation.
|Disposal of Legacy Nerve Agent GA and Lewisite Stocks at Deseret Chemical DepotLetter Report
The National Research Council of the National Academies established a study committee to assess the disposal of stocks of legacy nerve agent GA and lewisite at Deseret Chemical Depot. Specifically, the Committee on Disposal of Legacy Nerve Agent GA and Lewisite Stocks at Deseret Chemical Depot reviewed information provided to it on the 50 percent design of the Area Ten Liquid Incinerator (ATLIC) facility.
The committee focused on differences between the process design being used for the ATLIC facility and those used at the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (TOCDF), which has operated successfully for over a decade in campaigns to destroy nerve agents GB and VX and mustard agent. This letter report provides the technical information necessary to support the general and specific findings and recommendations of the committee.
This analysis examines the process design and procedural steps to be used for treating GA and lewisite at the Deseret Chemical Depot; provides an assessment of the process design which includes a new incinerator and associated pollution abatement system to be tailored to the requirements for treating the GA and lewisite; and provides an assessment of the process design to determine the system's ability to reduce arsenic and mercury emissions to within the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) new source regulatory limits.
|Review of the Bureau of Reclamation's Corrosion Prevention Standards for Ductile Iron Pipe
Ductile iron pipe (DIP) was introduced about 50 years ago as a more economical and better-performing product for water transmission and distribution. As with iron or steel pipes, DIP is subject to corrosion, the rate of which depends on the environment in which the pipe is placed. Corrosion mitigation protocols are employed to slow the corrosion process to an acceptable rate for the application. When to use corrosion mitigation systems, and which system, depends on the corrosivity of the soils in which the pipeline is buried.
The Bureau of Reclamation's specification for DIP in highly corrosive soil has been contested by some as an overly stringent requirement, necessitating the pipe to be modified from its as-manufactured state and thereby addin unnecessary cost to a pipeline system.
This report evaluates the specifications in question and presents findings and recommendations. Specifically, the authoring committee answers the following questions:
Does polyethylene encasement with cathodic protection work on ductile iron pipe installed in highly corrosive soils?
Will polyethylene encasement and cathodic protection reliably provide a minimum service life of 50 years?
What possible alternative corrosion mitigation methods for DIP would provide a service life of 50 years?
|Experimentation and Rapid Prototyping in Support of Counterterrorism
The U.S. military forces currently face a nontraditional threat from insurgents and terrorists who primarily employ improvised explosive devices and have shown a cycle of adaptation of less than 12 months to responses by U.S. forces to counter these attacks. This constantly evolving threat requires U.S. military forces to adapt and respond more rapidly with modified tacticts, technologies, and/or equipment.
In response to this need for new technologies, the Rapid Reaction Technology Office (RRTO) was established in 2006 to develop technologies that can mature in 6 to 18 months for purposes of counterterrorism. Although RRTO appears to be successfully fulfilling its mission, the agency seeks to understand and address barriers to and opportunities for meeting future counterterrorism needs--including the need to accelerate the transition of technologies for counterterrorism with an eye to countering emerging and anticipated threats. This book reviews RRTO approaches and provides a set of recommendations for portential improvements to help meet these needs for rapid technology development.
|Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry
Construction productivity--how well, how quickly, and at what cost buildings and infrastructure can be constructed--directly affects prices for homes and consumer goods and the robustness of the national economy. Industry analysts differ on whether construction industry productivity is improving or declining. Still, advances in available and emerging technologies offer significant opportunities to improve construction efficiency substantially in the 21st century and to help meet other national challenges, such as environmental sustainability.
Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry identifies five interrelated activities that could significantly improve the quality, timeliness, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability of construction projects.
These activities include widespread deployment and use of interoperable technology applications; improved job-site efficiency through more effective interfacing of people, processes, materials, equipment, and information; greater use of prefabrication, preassembly, modularization, and off-site fabrication techniques and processes; innovative, widespread use of demonstration installations; and effective performance measurement to drive efficiency and support innovation. The book recommends that the National Institute of Standards and Technology work with industry leaders to develop a collaborative strategy to fully implement and deploy the five activities
|2007-2008 Assessment of the Army Research Laboratory
This volume is the latest in a series of biennial assessments of the scientific and technical quality of the Army Research Laboratory (ARL). The current report summarizes findings for the 2007-2008 period, during which 95 volunteer experts in fields of science and engineering participated in the following activities: visiting ARL annually, receiving formal presentations of technical work, examining facilities, engaging in technical discussions with ARL staff, and reviewing ARL technical materials.
The overall quality of ARL's technical staff and their work continues to be impressive, as well as the relevance of their work to Army needs. ARL continues to exhibit a clear, passionate concern for the end user of its technology--the soldier in the field. While two directorates have large program-support missions, there is considerable customer-support work across the directorates, which universally demonstrate mindfulness of the importance of transitioning technology to support immediate and near-term Army needs. ARL staff also continue to expand their involvement with the wider scientific and engineering community.
This involvement includes monitoring relevant developments elsewhere, engaging in significant collaborative work (including the Collaborative Technology Alliances), and sharing work through peer reviews. In general, ARL is working very well within an appropriate research and development niche and has been demonstrating significant accomplishments.
|Frontiers in Crystalline MatterFrom Discovery to Technology
For much of the past 60 years, the U.S. research community dominated the discovery of new crystalline materials and the growth of large single crystals, placing the country at the forefront of fundamental advances in condensed-matter sciences and fueling the development of many of the new technologies at the core of U.S. economic growth. The opportunities offered by future developments in this field remain as promising as the achievements of the past. However, the past 20 years have seen a substantial deterioration in the United States' capability to pursue those opportunities at a time when several European and Asian countries have significantly increased investments in developing their own capacities in these areas. This book seeks both to set out the challenges and opportunities facing those who discover new crystalline materials and grow large crystals and to chart a way for the United States to reinvigorate its efforts and thereby return to a position of leadership in this field.
|Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities
The United States is increasingly dependent on information and information technology for both civilian and military purposes, as are many other nations. Although there is a substantial literature on the potential impact of a cyberattack on the societal infrastructure of the United States, little has been written about the use of cyberattack as an instrument of U.S. policy.
Cyberattacks--actions intended to damage adversary computer systems or networks--can be used for a variety of military purposes. But they also have application to certain missions of the intelligence community, such as covert action. They may be useful for certain domestic law enforcement purposes, and some analysts believe that they might be useful for certain private sector entities who are themselves under cyberattack. This report considers all of these applications from an integrated perspective that ties together technology, policy, legal, and ethical issues.
Focusing on the use of cyberattack as an instrument of U.S. national policy, Technology, Policy, Law and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities explores important characteristics of cyberattack. It describes the current international and domestic legal structure as it might apply to cyberattack, and considers analogies to other domains of conflict to develop relevant insights. Of special interest to the military, intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security communities, this report is also an essential point of departure for nongovernmental researchers interested in this rarely discussed topic.
|Fostering Visions for the FutureA Review of the NASA Institute of Advanced Concepts
The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) was formed in 1998 to provide an independent source of advanced aeronautical and space concepts that could dramatically impact how NASA develops and conducts its missions. Until the program's termination in August 2007, NIAC provided an independent open forum, a high-level point of entry to NASA for an external community of innovators, and an external capability for analysis and definition of advanced aeronautics and space concepts to complement the advanced concept activities conducted within NASA. Throughout its 9-year existence, NIAC inspired an atmosphere for innovation that stretched the imagination and encouraged creativity.
As requested by Congress, this volume reviews the effectiveness of NIAC and makes recommendations concerning the importance of such a program to NASA and to the nation as a whole, including the proper role of NASA and the federal government in fostering scientific innovation and creativity and in developing advanced concepts for future systems. Key findings and recommendations include that in order to achieve its mission, NASA must have, and is currently lacking, a mechanism to investigate visionary, far-reaching advanced concepts. Therefore, a NIAC-like entity should be reestablished to fill this gap.
|An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Neutron ResearchFiscal Year 2009
The National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST] Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) is a national user facility whose mission is to ensure the availability of neutron measurement capabilities in order to meet the needs of U.S. researchers from industry, academia, and government agencies. This mission is aligned with the mission of NIST, which is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve the quality of life.
As requested by the Deputy Director of NIST, this book assesses NCNR, based on the following criteria: (1) the technical merit of the current laboratory programs relative to current state-of-the-art programs worldwide; (2) the adequacy of the laboratory budget, facilities, equipment, and human resources, as they affect the quality of the laboratory technical programs; and (3) the degree to which the laboratory programs in measurement science and standards achieve their stated objectives and desired impact.
|An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Nanoscale Science and TechnologyFiscal Year 2009
The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST's) Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) was founded on May 1, 2007, and remains in development with respect to projects and staffing. It aspires to be recognized both as a world leader in each of its research areas and as an organization providing ready access to unexcelled nanoscale measurement and fabrication facilities.
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology evaluates the overall CNST accomplishments and operations for FY 2009. As requested by the Deputy Director of NIST, the scope of the assessment included the following criteria: (1) the technical merit of the current laboratory programs relative to current state-of-the-art programs worldwide; (2) the adequacy of the laboratory budget, facilities, equipment, and human resources, as they affect the quality of the laboratory's technical programs; and (3) the degree to which the laboratory programs in measurement science and standards achieve their stated objectives and desired impact.
|An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Electronics and Electrical Engineering LaboratoryFiscal Year 2009
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, carries out its mission of promoting U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by developing and applying technology, measurements, and standards across nationally and strategically important industries. NIST is uniquely positioned to contribute to the development of U.S. industry and to technology deployment, and thereby to U.S. economic growth.
This book contains the assessment by the Panel on Electronics and Electrical Engineering of NIST's Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory (EEEL), focusing on the scientific and technical work performed by the laboratory. The assessment is conducted biennially. The book examines the broad factors of technical merit of the laboratory's programs, the adequacy of facilities and resources, and the achievement of desired impacts.
|An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Information Technology LaboratoryFiscal Year 2009
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Information Technology Laboratory evaluates The Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Six divisions of the laboratory were visited and reviewed. The scope of the assessment includes the following criteria: (1) the technical merit of the current laboratory programs relative to current state-of-the-art programs worldwide; (2) the adequacy of the laboratory budget, facilities, equipment, and human resources, as they affect the quality of the laboratory's technical programs; and (3) the degree to which the laboratory programs in measurement science and standards achieve their stated objectives and desired impact. Based on the assessment, and using these criteria, the book outlines several observations and recommendations for ITL.
|An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Chemical Science and Technology LaboratoryFiscal Year 2009
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory examines the operations of the Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory (CSTL) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
This book assesses the CSTL, based on the following criteria: (1) the technical merit of the current laboratory programs relative to current state-of-the-art programs worldwide; (2) the adequacy of the laboratory budget, facilities, equipment, and human resources, as they affect the quality of the laboratory's technical programs; and (3) the degree to which laboratory programs in measurement science and standards achieve their stated objectives and desired impact."
|Sensing and Supporting Communications Capabilities for Special Operations ForcesAbbreviated Version
Among its key responsibilities, The U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) plans and synchronizes operations against terrorist networks. At any given moment, SOF are likely to be engaged in some stage of the planning or execution of special operations in many countries around the world, spanning a wide range of environments and missions. SOF therefore must be capable of operating in environments ranging from tropical jungle to arctic, maritime to desert, subterranean to mountainous, and rural to urban. Within this vast range, additional factors may influence technical and operational requirements, including weather, topography, bathymetry, geology, flora, fauna, and human population density. All of these factors must be weighed in terms of the challenges they pose to supporting communications and operational security. In short, SOF must maintain the capability to operate globally, in any environment, against any threats that can be countered by its unique capabilities.
Sensing and Supporting Communications Capabilities for Special Operations Forces focuses primarily on the key core SOF task of special reconnaissance, to determine SOF-specific sensing and supporting communications needs and mapping them to existing and emerging technologies. The book discusses preliminary observations, issues, and challenges, and identifies additional capabilities and technology areas that should be addressed.
|Toward a Universal Radio Frequency System for Special Operations ForcesAbbreviated Version
Could state of the art radio frequency (RF) systems be produced with universal capabilities to support Special Operations Forces (SOF) missions? The report, sponsored by U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), provides recommendations and examines (1) the unique requirements of SOF for radio frequency (RF) systems, (2) current handheld and manpackable RF systems, (3) capabilities that could be provided by SOF-specific RF systems, and (4) the deployability over time for universal RF systems for SOF.
|Avoiding Technology Surprise for Tomorrow's WarfighterA Symposium Report
On April 29, 2009 the National Research Council held a 1-day symposium titled, 'Avoiding Technology Surprise for Tomorrow's Warfighter.' This volume, a report of the symposium, highlights key challenges confronting the scientific and technical intelligence (S & TI) community and explores potential solutions that might enable the S & TI community to overcome those challenges.
The symposium captured comments and observations from representatives from combatant commands and supporting governmental organizations, together with those of symposium participants, in order to elucidate concepts and trends, knowledge of which could be used to improve the Department of Defense's technology warning capability. Topics addressed included issues stemming from globalization of science and technology, challenges to U.S. warfighters that could result from technology surprise, examples of past technological surprise, and the strengths and weaknesses of current S & TI analysis.
|America's Future in SpaceAligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs
As civil space policies and programs have evolved, the geopolitical environment has changed dramatically. Although the U.S. space program was originally driven in large part by competition with the Soviet Union, the nation now finds itself in a post-Cold War world in which many nations have established, or are aspiring to develop, independent space capabilities. Furthermore discoveries from developments in the first 50 years of the space age have led to an explosion of scientific and engineering knowledge and practical applications of space technology. The private sector has also been developing, fielding, and expanding the commercial use of space-based technology and systems.
Recognizing the new national and international context for space activities, America's Future in Space is meant to advise the nation on key goals and critical issues in 21st century U.S. civil space policy.
|Disposal of Activated Carbon from Chemical Agent Disposal Facilities
For the last two decades, the United States has been destroying its entire stockpile of chemical agents. At the facilities where these agents are being destroyed, effluent gas streams pass through large activated carbon filters before venting to ensure that any residual trace vapors of chemical agents and other pollutants do not escape into the atmosphere in exceedance of regulatory limits. All the carbon will have to be disposed of for final closure of these facilities to take place. In March 2008, the Chemical Materials Agency asked the National Research Council to study, evaluate, and recommend the best methods for proper and safe disposal of the used carbon from the operational disposal facilities.
This volume examines various approaches to handling carbon waste streams from the four operating chemical agent disposal facilities. The approaches that will be used at each facility will ultimately be chosen bearing in mind local regulatory practices, facility design and operations, and the characteristics of agent inventories, along with other factors such as public involvement regarding facility operations.
|Uncertainty Management in Remote Sensing of Climate DataSummary of a Workshop
Great advances have been made in our understanding of the climate system over the past few decades, and remotely sensed data have played a key role in supporting many of these advances. Improvements in satellites and in computational and data-handling techniques have yielded high quality, readily accessible data. However, rapid increases in data volume have also led to large and complex datasets that pose significant challenges in data analysis. Uncertainty characterization is needed for every satellite mission and scientists continue to be challenged by the need to reduce the uncertainty in remotely sensed climate records and projections. The approaches currently used to quantify the uncertainty in remotely sensed data lack an overall mathematically based framework. An additional challenge is characterizing uncertainty in ways that are useful to a broad spectrum of end-users.
In December 2008, the National Academies held a workshop, summarized in this volume, to survey how statisticians, climate scientists, and remote sensing experts might address the challenges of uncertainty management in remote sensing of climate data. The workshop emphasized raising and discussing issues that could be studied more intently by individual researchers or teams of researchers, and setting the stage for possible future collaborative activities.
|Evaluation of Future Strategic and Energy Efficient Options for the U.S. Capitol Power Plant
The U.S. Capitol Complex in Washington, D.C., comprises some of the most historic and symbolic buildings in the nation. The steam and chilled water required to heat and cool these buildings and related equipment is generated and distributed by the Capitol Power Plant (CPP) district energy system. Portions of the CPP system are now 50 to 100 years old and require renewal so that reliable utility services can be provided to the U.S. Capitol Complex for the foreseeable future.
Evaluation of Future Strategic and Energy Efficient Options for the U.S. Capitol Power Plant provides comments on an interim set of publicly available consultant-generated options for the delivery of utility services to the U.S. Capitol Complex. The report provides recommendations to bring the interim options to completion, including suggestions for additional analyses, so that the CPP can be best positioned to meet the future strategic and energy efficiency requirements of the U.S. Capitol Complex.
|Strengthening Forensic Science in the United StatesA Path Forward
Scores of talented and dedicated people serve the forensic science community, performing vitally important work. However, they are often constrained by lack of adequate resources, sound policies, and national support. It is clear that change and advancements, both systematic and scientific, are needed in a number of forensic science disciplines to ensure the reliability of work, establish enforceable standards, and promote best practices with consistent application. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward provides a detailed plan for addressing these needs and suggests the creation of a new government entity, the National Institute of Forensic Science, to establish and enforce standards within the forensic science community.
The benefits of improving and regulating the forensic science disciplines are clear: assisting law enforcement officials, enhancing homeland security, and reducing the risk of wrongful conviction and exoneration. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States gives a full account of what is needed to advance the forensic science disciplines, including upgrading of systems and organizational structures, better training, widespread adoption of uniform and enforceable best practices, and mandatory certification and accreditation programs.
While this book provides an essential call-to-action for congress and policy makers, it also serves as a vital tool for law enforcement agencies, criminal prosecutors and attorneys, and forensic science educators.
|Review of the DOE National Security Labs' Use of Archival Nuclear Test DataLetter Report (QMU Phase II)
In 2006, the U.S. Congress and the National Nuclear Security Administration of the Department of Energy requested an evaluation of the quantification of margins and uncertainties framework used by the national security laboratories in support of their nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship activities.
The first part of the request resulted in the book, Evaluation of Quantification of Margins and Uncertainties Methodology for Assessing and Certifying the Reliability of the Nuclear Stockpile. The present letter report fulfills the second part of that request: a high-level overview of the way the archival underground nuclear test data are used by the labs in its application of QMU. Specifically the committee was asked to assess how archived data are used in the evaluation of margins and uncertainties, and whether or not design labs are fully exploiting the data for QMU. This includes use for baselining codes, informing annual assessment, assessing significant finding investigations, and more.
This letter report presents the results of the study committee's analysis based on two meetings-one to Los Alamos National Laboratory and another to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The report begins with a short background section followed by the findings, recommendations, and analysis.
|Letter Report on the Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, Phase 3
This letter report broadly reviews the strategy and structure of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, as requested by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Although the Obama Administration's focus on nearer-term technologies is on the right track, there remains a need for continued investment in longer-term, higher-risk, higher-payoff vehicle technologies that could be highly transformational with regard to reduced use of petroleum and reduced emissions. Such technologies include advanced batteries, technologies for hydrogen storage, and hydrogen/fuel cells. For researchers, contractors, and investors to be willing to make long-term commitments to these and other potentially important developing technologies, a consistent year-to-year level of support must be provided.
Other recommendations within this report include incorporating a broader-scope approach to better consider total emissions and the full environmental impact of using various fuels and technologies; providing temporary reductions in cost-share requirements to ease the burden on prospective researchers; and providing direct funding to struggling automotive companies to help keep important in-house research programs active. Further suggestions are included within the body of the report.
|Radioisotope Power SystemsAn Imperative for Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Space Exploration
Spacecraft require electrical energy. This energy must be available in the outer reaches of the solar system where sunlight is very faint. It must be available through lunar nights that last for 14 days, through long periods of dark and cold at the higher latitudes on Mars, and in high-radiation fields such as those around Jupiter. Radioisotope power systems (RPSs) are the only available power source that can operate unconstrained in these environments for the long periods of time needed to accomplish many missions, and plutonium-238 (238Pu) is the only practical isotope for fueling them.
Plutonium-238 does not occur in nature. The committee does not believe that there is any additional 238Pu (or any operational 238Pu production facilities) available anywhere in the world.The total amount of 238Pu available for NASA is fixed, and essentially all of it is already dedicated to support several pending missions--the Mars Science Laboratory, Discovery 12, the Outer Planets Flagship 1 (OPF 1), and (perhaps) a small number of additional missions with a very small demand for 238Pu. If the status quo persists, the United States will not be able to provide RPSs for any subsequent missions.
|Sustainable Critical Infrastructure SystemsA Framework for Meeting 21st Century Imperatives: Report of a Workshop
For the people of the United States, the 20th century was one of unprecedented population growth, economic development, and improved quality of life. The critical infrastructure systems-water, wastewater, power, transportation, and telecommunications-built in the 20th century have become so much a part of modern life that they are taken for granted. By 2030, 60 million more Americans will expect these systems to deliver essential services.
Large segments and components of the nation's critical infrastructure systems are now 50 to 100 years old, and their performance and condition are deteriorating. Improvements are clearly necessary. However, approaching infrastructure renewal by continuing to use the same processes, practices, technologies, and materials that were developed in the 20th century will likely yield the same results: increasing instances of service disruptions, higher operating and repair costs, and the possibility of catastrophic, cascading failures. If the nation is to meet some of the important challenges of the 21st century, a new paradigm for the renewal of critical infrastructure systems is needed.
This book discusses the essential components of this new paradigm, and outlines a framework to ensure that ongoing activities, knowledge, and technologies can be aligned and leveraged to help meet multiple national objectives.
|Optimizing U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense Review of Air Force Acquisition Programs
The Department of Defense (DOD) spends over $300 billion each year to develop, produce, field and sustain weapons systems (the U.S. Air Force over $100 billion per year). DOD and Air Force acquisitions programs often experience large cost overruns and schedule delays leading to a loss in confidence in the defense acquisition system and the people who work in it. Part of the DOD and Air Force response to these problems has been to increase the number of program and technical reviews that acquisition programs must undergo. This book looks specifically at the reviews that U.S. Air Force acquisition programs are required to undergo and poses a key question: Can changes in the number, content, or sequence of reviews help Air Force program managers more successfully execute their programs?
This book concludes that, unless they do it better than they are now, Air Force and DOD attempts to address poor acquisition program performance with additional reviews will fail. This book makes five recommendations that together form a gold standard for conduct of reviews and if implemented and rigorously managed by Air Force and DOD acquisition executives can increase review effectiveness and efficiency. The bottom line is to help program managers successfully execute their programs.
|Approaches to Future Space Cooperation and Competition in a Globalizing WorldSummary of a Workshop
Numerous countries and regions now have very active space programs, and the number is increasing. These maturing capabilities around the world create a plethora of potential partners for cooperative space endeavors, while at the same time heightening competitiveness in the international space arena.
This book summarizes a public workshop held in November 2008 for the purpose of reviewing past and present cooperation, coordination, and competition mechanisms for space and Earth science research and space exploration; identifying significant lessons learned; and discussing how those lessons could best be applied in the future, particularly in the areas of cooperation and collaboration.
Presentations and initial discussion focused on past and present experiences in international cooperation and competition to identify "lessons learned." Those lessons learned were then used as the starting point for subsequent discussions on the most effective ways for structuring future cooperation or coordination in space and Earth science research and space exploration. The goal of the workshop was not to develop a specific model for future cooperation or coordination, but rather to explore the advantages and disadvantages of various approaches and stimulate further deliberation on this important topic.
|The New Orleans Hurricane Protection SystemAssessing Pre-Katrina Vulnerability and Improving Mitigation and Preparedness
Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans and surrounding areas in August 2005, ranks as one of the nation's most devastating natural disasters. Shortly after the storm, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers established a task force to assess the performance of the levees, floodwalls, and other structures comprising the area's hurricane protection system during Hurricane Katrina. This book provides an independent review of the task force's final draft report and identifies key lessons from the Katrina experience and their implications for future hurricane preparedness and planning in the region.
|Opportunities in Neuroscience for Future Army Applications
Advances and major investments in the field of neuroscience can enhance traditional behavioral science approaches to training, learning, and other applications of value to the Army. Neural-behavioral indicators offer new ways to evaluate how well an individual trainee has assimilated mission critical knowledge and skills, and can also be used to provide feedback on the readiness of soldiers for combat. Current methods for matching individual capabilities with the requirements for performing high-value Army assignments do not include neuropsychological, psychophysiological, neurochemical or neurogenetic components; simple neuropsychological testing could greatly improve training success rates for these assignments.
Opportunities in Neuroscience for Future Army Applications makes 17 recommendations that focus on utilizing current scientific research and development initiatives to improve performance and efficiency, collaborating with pharmaceutical companies to employ neuropharmaceuticals for general sustainment or enhancement of soldier performance, and improving cognitive and behavioral performance using interdisciplinary approaches and technological investments. An essential guide for the Army, this book will also be of interest to other branches of military, national security and intelligence agencies, academic and commercial researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and others interested in applying the rapid advances in neuroscience to the performance of individual and group tasks.
|Evaluation of Safety and Environmental Metrics for Potential Application at Chemical Agent Disposal Facilities
By the end of 2009, more than 60 percent of the global chemical weapons stockpile declared by signatories to the Chemical Weapons Convention will have been destroyed, and of the 184 signatories, only three countries will possess chemical weapons-the United States, Russia, and Libya.
In the United States, destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile began in 1990, when Congress mandated that the Army and its contractors destroy the stockpile while ensuring maximum safety for workers, the public, and the environment. The destruction program has proceeded without serious exposure of any worker or member of the public to chemical agents, and risk to the public from a storage incident involving the aging stockpile has been reduced by more than 90 percent from what it was at the time destruction began on Johnston Island and in the continental United States.
At this time, safety at chemical agent disposal facilities is far better than the national average for all industries. Even so, the Army and its contractors are desirous of further improvement. To this end, the Chemical Materials Agency (CMA) asked the NRC to assist by reviewing CMA's existing safety and environmental metrics and making recommendations on which additional metrics might be developed to further improve its safety and environmental programs.
|Assessing Economic Impacts of Greenhouse Gas MitigationSummary of a Workshop
Many economic models exist to estimate the cost and effectiveness of different policies for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Some approaches incorporate rich technological detail, others emphasize the aggregate behavior of the economy and energy system, and some focus on impacts for specific sectors. Understandably, different approaches may be better positioned to provide particular types of information and may yield differing results, at times rendering decisions on future climate change emissions and research and development (R&D) policy difficult. Reliable estimates of the costs and benefits to the U.S. economy for various emissions reduction and adaptation strategies are critical to federal climate change R&D portfolio planning and investment decisions. At the request of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Academies organized a workshop to consider these issues.
The workshop, summarized in this volume, comprised three dimensions: policy, analysis, and economics. Discussions along these dimensions were meant to lead to constructive identification of gaps and opportunities. The workshop focused on (1) policymakers' informational needs; (2) models and other analytic approaches to meet these needs; (3) important economic considerations, including equity and discounting; and (4) opportunities to enhance analytical capabilities and better inform policy.
|Review of Site (Point-of-Use) and Full-Fuel-Cycle Measurement Approaches to DOE/EERE Building Appliance Energy-Efficiency StandardsLetter Report
Currently, the Department of Energy (DOE) sets appliance efficiency standards using primarily "site" (or point-of-use) measurements, which reflect only the energy consumed to operate the appliance. Site measurements allow consumers to compare energy efficiency among appliances, but offer no information about other energy costs involved. This congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council recommends that DOE consider moving over time to the use of a full-fuel-cycle measure of energy consumption for assessment of national and environmental impacts. Using that metric would provide the public with more comprehensive information about the impacts of energy consumption on the environment, the economy, and other national concerns. This volume discusses these matters and offers several related findings and recommendations together with supporting information.
|Severe Space Weather Events–Understanding Societal and Economic ImpactsA Workshop Report: Extended Summary
The adverse effects of extreme space weather on modern technology--power grid outages, high-frequency communication blackouts, spacecraft anomalies--are well known and well documented, and the physical processes underlying space weather are also generally well understood. Less well documented and understood, however, are the potential economic and societal impacts of the disruption of critical technological systems by severe space weather.
This volume, an extended four-color summary of the book, Severe Space Weather Events--Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts, addresses the questions of space weather risk assessment and management.
The workshop on which the books are based brought together representatives of industry, the government, and academia to consider both direct and collateral effects of severe space weather events, the current state of the space weather services infrastructure in the United States, the needs of users of space weather data and services, and the ramifications of future technological developments for contemporary society's vulnerability to space weather. The workshop concluded with a discussion of un- or underexplored topics that would yield the greatest benefits in space weather risk management.
|Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Mars Sample Return Missions
NASA maintains a planetary protection policy to avoid the forward biological contamination of other worlds by terrestrial organisms, and back biological contamination of Earth from the return of extraterrestrial materials by spaceflight missions. Forward-contamination issues related to Mars missions were addressed in a 2006 National Research Council (NRC) book, Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars. However, it has been more than 10 years since back-contamination issues were last examined.
Driven by a renewed interest in Mars sample return missions, this book reviews, updates, and replaces the planetary protection conclusions and recommendations contained in the NRC's 1997 report Mars Sample Return: Issues and Recommendations. The specific issues addressed in this book include the following:
The potential for living entities to be included in samples returned from Mars;
Scientific investigations that should be conducted to reduce uncertainty in the above assessment;
The potential for large-scale effects on Earth's environment by any returned entity released to the environment;
Criteria for intentional sample release, taking note of current and anticipated regulatory frameworks; and
The status of technological measures that could be taken on a mission to prevent the inadvertent release of a returned sample into Earth's biosphere.
|Assessment of Explosive Destruction Technologies for Specific Munitions at the Blue Grass and Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants
The Army's ability to meet public and congressional demands to destroy expeditiously all of the U.S. declared chemical weapons would be enhanced by the selection and acquisition of appropriate explosive destruction technologies (EDTs) to augment the main technologies to be used to destroy the chemical weapons currently at the Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD) in Kentucky and the Pueblo Chemical Depot (PCD) in Colorado. The Army is considering four EDTs for the destruction of chemical weapons: three from private sector vendors, and a fourth, Army-developed explosive destruction system (EDS).
This book updates earlier evaluations of these technologies, as well as any other viable detonation technologies, based on several considerations including process maturity, process efficacy, process throughput, process safety, public and regulatory acceptability, and secondary waste issues, among others. It also provides detailed information on each of the requirements at BGAD and PCD and rates each of the existing suitable EDTs plus the Army's EDS with respect to how well it satisfies these requirements.
|A Performance Assessment of NASA's Heliophysics Program
Since the 1990s, the pace of discovery in the field of solar and space physics has accelerated, largely owing to NASA investments in its Heliophysics Great Observatory fleet of spacecraft. These enable researchers to investigate connections between events on the Sun and in the space environment by combining multiple points of view.
Recognizing the importance of observations of the Sun-to-Earth system, the National Research Council produced a solar and space physics decadal survey in 2003, laying out the Integrated Research Strategy. This strategy provided a prioritized list of flight missions, plus theory and modeling programs, that would advance the relevant physical theories, incorporate those theories in models that describe a system of interactions between the Sun and the space environment, obtain data on the system, and analyze and test the adequacy of the theories and models.
Five years later, this book measures NASA's progress toward the goals and priorities laid out in the 2003 study. Unfortunately, very little of the recommended priorities will be realized before 2013. Mission cost growth, reordering of survey mission priorities, and unrealized budget assumptions have delayed nearly all of the recommended NASA spacecraft missions. The resulting loss of synergistic capabilities in space will constitute a serious impediment to future progress.
|Assessing the Impacts of Changes in the Information Technology R&D EcosystemRetaining Leadership in an Increasingly Global Environment
The U.S. information technology (IT) research and development (R&D) ecosystem was the envy of the world in 1995. However, this position of leadership is not a birthright, and it is now under pressure. In recent years, the rapid globalization of markets, labor pools, and capital flows have encouraged many strong national competitors. During the same period, national policies have not sufficiently buttressed the ecosystem, or have generated side effects that have reduced its effectiveness. As a result, the U.S. position in IT leadership today has materially eroded compared with that of prior decades, and the nation risks ceding IT leadership to other nations within a generation.
Assessing the Impacts of Changes in the Information Technology R&D Ecosystem calls for a recommitment to providing the resources needed to fuel U.S. IT innovation, to removing important roadblocks that reduce the ecosystem's effectiveness in generating innovation and the fruits of innovation, and to becoming a lead innovator and user of IT. The book examines these issues and makes recommendations to strengthen the U.S. IT R&D ecosystem.
|Construction Research at NIOSHReviews of Research Programs of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
The diverse and distributed nature of the construction industry presents special challenges for occupational health and safety protection. Among other things, the work environment and the workers change daily and exposure to hazardous environments are difficult to track. For the same reasons, it is difficult to conduct research designed to improve worker health and safety. Nevertheless, construction-related fatalities and injuries have declined significantly in recent years in part due to the research programs of the NIOSH Construction Research Program. To evaluate the effectiveness of its activities, NIOSH asked the National Academies to review 15 specific NIOSH programs including its Construction Research Program. This report provides the context and analysis of the program, an evaluation of its relevance and impact, and recommendations for future research and for program improvement.
|Scientific Assessment of High-Power Free-Electron Laser Technology
This book presents a scientific assessment of free-electron-laser technology for naval applications. The charge from the Office of Naval Research was to assess whether the desired performance capabilities are achievable or whether fundamental limitations will prevent them from being realized.
The present study identifies the highest-priority scientific and technical issues that must be resolved along the development path to achieve a megawatt-class free-electron laser. In accordance with the charge, the committee considered (and briefly describes) trade-offs between free-electron lasers and other types of lasers and weapon systems to show the advantages free-electron lasers offer over other types of systems for naval applications as well as their drawbacks.
The primary advantages of free-electron lasers are associated with their energy delivery at the speed of light, selectable wavelength, and all-electric nature, while the trade-offs for free-electron lasers are their size, complexity, and relative robustness. Also, Despite the significant technical progress made in the development of high-average-power free-electron lasers, difficult technical challenges remain to be addressed in order to advance from present capability to megawatt-class power levels.
|Evaluation of Quantification of Margins and Uncertainties Methodology for Assessing and Certifying the Reliability of the Nuclear Stockpile
Maintaining the capabilities of the nuclear weapons stockpile and performing the annual assessment for the stockpile's certification involves a wide range of processes, technologies, and expertise. An important and valuable framework helping to link those components is the quantification of margins and uncertainties (QMU) methodology.
In this book, the National Research Council evalutes:
how the national security labs were using QMU, including any significant differences among the three labs
its use in the annual assessment
whether the applications of QMU to assess the proposed reliable replacement warhead (RRW) could reduce the likelhood of resuming underground nuclear testing
This book presents and assessment of each of these issues and includes findings and recommendations to help guide l aboratory and NNSA implementation and development of the QMU framework. It also serves as a guide for congressional oversight of those activities.
|Computational Technology for Effective Health CareImmediate Steps and Strategic Directions
Despite a strong commitment to delivering quality health care, persistent problems involving medical errors and ineffective treatment continue to plague the industry. Many of these problems are the consequence of poor information and technology (IT) capabilities, and most importantly, the lack cognitive IT support. Clinicians spend a great deal of time sifting through large amounts of raw data, when, ideally, IT systems would place raw data into context with current medical knowledge to provide clinicians with computer models that depict the health status of the patient.
Computational Technology for Effective Health Care advocates re-balancing the portfolio of investments in health care IT to place a greater emphasis on providing cognitive support for health care providers, patients, and family caregivers; observing proven principles for success in designing and implementing IT; and accelerating research related to health care in the computer and social sciences and in health/biomedical informatics.
Health care professionals, patient safety advocates, as well as IT specialists and engineers, will find this book a useful tool in preparation for crossing the health care IT chasm.
|Review of Science Requirements for the Terrestrial Planet FinderLetter Report
The NRC, in its 2000 report, Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium, ranked the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TFP) project third among major NASA missions and sixth overall in its research priority recommendations to NASA for the coming decade. In January 2004, NASA asked the NRC for an updated assessment of the TPF mission. In April 2004, NASA also announced its intention to proceed with both coronagrahic and interferometric planet finder missions (TPF-C and TPC-I) on an accelerated schedule. This letter report presents the findings of that updated assessment in light of NASA’s announcement. In it, the NRC concludes that the mission's goals are consistent with the 2000 report, but raises two primary concerns. First, the current schedule for TPF-C does not leave enough time for vital precursor missions, and second, proceeding with the TPF-C now would disrupt the scientific balance of NASA’s space science portfolio.
|Review of the Federal Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health, and Safety Research
This new book from the National Research Council finds serious weaknesses in the government's plan for research on the potential health and environmental risks posed by nanomaterials, which are increasingly being used in consumer goods and industry. An effective national plan for identifying and managing potential risks is essential to the successful development and public acceptance of nanotechnology-enabled products.
The book recommends a robust national strategic plan for addressing nanotechnology-related EHS risks, which will need to focus on promoting research that can assist all stakeholders, including federal agencies, in planning, controlling, and optimizing the use of engineered nanomaterials while minimizing EHS effects of concern to society. Such a plan will ensure the timely development of engineered nanoscale materials that will bring about great improvements in the nation's health, its environmental quality, its economy, and its security.
|Assessment of Corrosion Education
The threat from the degradation of materials in engineered products has been well documented over the years. And yet little effort appears to have been made to developing a better understanding of corrosion and the mitigation of its effects.
Assessment of Corrosion Education makes a number of short- and long-term recommendations to industry and government agencies, educational institutions, and communities to increase education and awareness.
|Launching ScienceScience Opportunities Provided by NASA's Constellation System
In January 2004 NASA was given a new policy direction known as the Vision for Space Exploration. That plan, now renamed the United States Space Exploration Policy, called for sending human and robotic missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. In 2005 NASA outlined how to conduct the first steps in implementing this policy and began the development of a new human-carrying spacecraft known as Orion, the lunar lander known as Altair, and the launch vehicles Ares I and Ares V.
Collectively, these are called the Constellation System. In November 2007 NASA asked the National Research Council (NRC) to evaluate the potential for new science opportunities enabled by the Constellation System of rockets and spacecraft.
The NRC committee evaluated a total of 17 mission concepts for future space science missions. Of those, the committee determined that 12 would benefit from the Constellation System and five would not. This book presents the committee's findings and recommendations, including cost estimates, a review of the technical feasibility of each mission, and identification of the missions most deserving of future study.
|A Review of the DOE Plan for U.S. Fusion Community Participation in the ITER Program
ITER presents the United States and its international partners with the opportunity to explore new and exciting frontiers of plasma science while bringing the promise of fusion energy closer to reality. The ITER project has garnered the commitment and will draw on the scientific potential of seven international partners, China, the European Union, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States, countries that represent more than half of the world's population. The success of ITER will depend on each partner's ability to fully engage itself in the scientific and technological challenges posed by advancing our understanding of fusion.
In this book, the National Research Council assesses the current U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) plan for U.S. fusion community participation in ITER, evaluates the plan's elements, and recommends appropriate goals, procedures, and metrics for consideration in the future development of the plan.