If anyone from the research community has comments or questions related to the study, you may send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Survey
The astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey is a large and influential study run jointly between the Board of Physics and Astronomy and the Space Studies Board of the National Academies. The institutional goal of a decadal survey is to consider the past and current research of the field and provide consensus recommendations for the direction of the field over the next decade. These recommendations are made by a survey committee who are directed by the statement of task and informed by community input. Since the first decadal survey in 1964, the decadal survey committee has been charged with surveying the field of astronomy and astrophysics and determining and prioritizing the most important scientific and technological activities for the next decade. The impact of this survey is widespread as it is a useful resource for agencies supporting the field of astronomy and astrophysics, the Congressional committees with jurisdiction over those agencies, the scientific community, and the public. Six surveys have been executed and the community, federal agencies, and National Academies are preparing for the next decadal survey: Astro2020.
Timeline -- 2018 January AAS Town Hall – 2018 March Astro 2020 proposal submitted to Agencies – Summer/Fall: Science White Paper call issued – 2018 ≤ December Chair selected – 2019 January AAS Town Hall and other community outreach activities It will take ~2 years to complete the survey process and release the report.
Statement of Task Below is the Statement of Task for the Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey (Astro2020), agreed to by the National Academy of Sciences, NASA, NSF, and DOE. The Statement of Task is the governing document for the Astro2020 Decadal Study. Additional counseling for the Committee and staff as they carry out their work can be found here.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine shall convene an ad hoc survey committee and supporting study panels to carry out a decadal survey in astronomy and astrophysics. The study will generate consensus recommendations to implement a comprehensive strategy and vision for a decade of transformative science at the frontiers of astronomy and astrophysics. The committee, with inputs from study panels covering the breadth of astronomy and astrophysics, will carry out the following tasks:
Provide an overview of the current state of astronomy and astrophysics science, and technology research in support of that science, with connections to other scientific areas where appropriate;
Identify the most compelling science challenges and frontiers in astronomy and astrophysics, which shall motivate the committee’s strategy for the future;
Develop a comprehensive research strategy to advance the frontiers of astronomy and astrophysics for the period 2022-2032 that will include identifying, recommending, and ranking the highest priority research activities — taking into account for each activity the scientific case, international and private landscape, timing, cost category and cost risk, as well as technical readiness, technical risk, and opportunities for partnerships. The strategy should be balanced, by considering large, medium, and small activities for both ground and space. (Activities include any project, telescope, facility, experiment, mission, or research program of sufficient scope to be identified separately in the final report.) For each recommended activity the committee will lay out the principal science objectives and activity capabilities, including assumed or recommended activity lifetime, where possible;
Utilize and recommend decision rules, where appropriate, for the comprehensive research strategy that can accommodate significant but reasonable deviations in the projected budget or changes in urgency precipitated by new discoveries or unanticipated competitive activities;
Assess the state of the profession, using information available externally and, if necessary, data gathered by the study itself, including workforce and demographic issues in the field. Identify areas of concern and importance to the community raised by this assessment in service of the future vitality and capability of the astronomy and astrophysics work force. Where possible, provide specific, actionable and practical recommendations to the agencies and community to address these areas. This report shall be made available following the completion of the study
Structure The survey's structure will be determined by the Survey Committee after it is appointed.
Co-Chair FIONA A. HARRISON (NAS) is the Benjamin M. Rosen Professor of Physics and the Kent and Joyce Kresa Leadership Chair of the Division of Physics and Mathematics at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. Dr. Harrison's primary research interests are in experimental and observational high-energy astrophysics. She is the principal investigator of NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), for which she received the NASA Outstanding Public Leadership Medal in 2013. In 2015, she was awarded the Bruno Rossi Prize of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society, and in 2016 she won the Harrie Massey Award from the Committee on Space Research. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences in 2014. Dr. Harrison is past chair of the Division of Astrophysics of the American Physical Society, and chair-elect of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society. Dr. Harrison served as chair of the Academies’ Space Studies Board, is a member of the James Webb Space Telescope Independent Review Board, and chaired the Academies’ Committee on an Assessment of the Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets (AFTA) Mission Concepts. She was a member of the committee on Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2010.
Co-Chair ROBERT C. KENNICUTT, JR. (NAS) is a professor at the Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona and in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University. His research interests are primarily in observational extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. Dr. Kennicutt has over forty years of experience in various capacities including serving as: Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy and as Director of the Institute of Astronomy, and head of the school of physical sciences at the University of Cambridge; as Editor-in-Chief of The Astrophysical Journal; and as Professor/Astronomer and Deputy Head of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. He has won numerous awards such as the Gruber Cosmology Prize, and the Dannie Heinman Prize in Astrophysics at the American Institute of Physics. He received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Washington. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2006 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London (FRS) in 2011. Dr. Kennicutt has served on various committees at the National Academies including the Committee on Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2010, the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics, and the Task Group on Space Astronomy and Astrophysics.
* The rest of the survey committee will be appointed at a later date.
All Meetings and Outreach Events
June 9-13, 2019 AAS Meeting-Town Hall Date, Time, Title TBD St. Louis, MO
Community input is essential to the decadal survey process. The call for science white papers is closed and instructions for preparing and submitting the white papers are below. The window for submission of science white papers was between 12:01am Eastern, Monday, January 7, 2019 and 05:00pm Eastern Monday, March 11, 2019.
For your convenience, here is a template for formatting your white paper. View as .doc file I View as .tex file Using the template is not required, but please abide by the formatting requirements listed in the instructions.
Notice of intent to submit white papers on activities, projects, or state of the profession considerations to the Astro2020 Decadal Survey
To aid in survey preparation and to ensure that the Astro2020 decadal survey committee and panels have the necessary expertise, the decadal survey requested short notices of future intent (NOIs) to submit white papers on activities, projects, or state of the profession considerations, referred to as APC white papers. We requested that you submit a very short NOI B March 20, 2019, if you planned to submit a white paper on an activity, project, or state of the profession consideration. Note that the APC white papers are distinct from the science-focused white papers that were due March 11, 2019. An NOI is not required for future APC white paper submission, but it was strongly encouraged to help facilitate decadal planning. We requested that only one NOI be submitted per APC team.
The NOI submission form is closed. Submissions were accepted February 11-March 20, 2019.
Timeline for Calls for Input:
March 11 – Science white papers due
March 20 – Notice of Intent (NOI) for submitting activity, project, of state of the profession consideration (APC) white papers due
July 1 (tentative) – 5-10 page APC white papers due. Exact format to be announced later.
What types of ideas can be submitted for APC whitepapers?
Ideas from the community that can be submitted include (but are not limited to) all scales of space- and ground-based science projects, activities such as infrastructure and technological advancements, and issues of consideration for the state of the profession.
What was the purpose of this NOI?
This Notice of Intent is to inform the Astro2020 decadal survey committee of ideas that the community plans to submit for the prioritization process. This is to aid the survey committee in constituting its panels with the necessary expertise.
Should missions, ground-based projects, or other activities submit the details of their compelling science as science white papers or include them as part of an APC white paper?
Science topics will be considered first, and science white paper input will be used somewhat independently of the APC white paper input. Therefore, the compelling science for missions, ground-based projects, and other activities should be submitted as science white papers to be most useful.
Should probe mission concepts each submit an NOI and subsequent APC white paper?
Yes, they should, regardless of whether they have been sponsored by a NASA study or not.
Should the large NASA mission concepts (HabEx, LUVOIR, Lynx, Origins) each submit an NOI and subsequent APC white paper?
Yes. These white papers in general are intended as synopses of projects and activities that are at a sufficient level that the committee and panels can understand a) the scope of the project, b) the level of existing information, and c) what additional inputs will be required to fully evaluate the project or activity. For these larger projects of course a 10-page white paper will be insufficient to gain the requisite insight into the complexity and finer details of the missions, but we still believe these white papers will serve as useful guides for organizing requests for further information, and for defining inputs needed for the Technical Risk and Cost Evaluation (TRACE) process, and so we ask that the mission concept teams submit that information.
Should WFIRST, Athena, and LISA submit NOIs and APC white papers?
No. We recognize that all three of these projects were recommended by New Worlds New Horizons (NWNH), and that they have undergone significant development activities since that time. These are clearly at a very different level of maturity than the new mission concepts that are likely to be considered. Therefore, we do not expect an NOI or project white papers, and none of these three missions will go through a full TRACE process.
Should current projects that are already part of the program of record submit NOIs and APC white papers?
No. The NOIs and APC white papers are only for future projects that are not part of the program of record.
Call for Activities, Projects, or State of the Profession Consideration -APC White Paper
There will be an opportunity to submit an activity, project, or state of the profession consideration (APC) white paper to the Astro2020 Decadal Survey this spring. Note that the APC white papers are distinct from the science-focused white papers that are due March 11, 2019. An NOI is not required for future APC white paper submission, but it is strongly encouraged to help facilitate decadal planning. The APC white paper may be 5-10 pages and will tentatively be due July 1, 2019. Further details, including guidelines, and formatting information will be provided here this spring. (updated 2/11/19)
Request for Information
The National Academy of Sciences requested information regarding research support for a study entitled Independent Technical, Risk, and Cost Evaluation (TRACE) for the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey (Astro2020). (Formerly known as Cost and Technical Evaluation (CATE), the name is updated to better reflect the risk-based nature of the evaluation.) NAS invited all interested responders to submit a written response to this Request for Information between February 25- March 15, 2019. Thank you for your input, the RFI is now closed.
Call for Nominations for Survey Committee and Panels
Thank you for your nominations to help identify qualified members of both the survey committee and future scientific and programmatic panels. Your valuable input was received December 20-February 5, 2019 and the committee formation process has begun. The submission form is now closed and we are no longer accepting nominations. (updated 2/7/19)