Skip to Main Content
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Space Studies Board
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
About the SSB
Board Members
Board Meetings
News & Events
Discipline Committees
Decadal Surveys
Current Projects
Completed Projects
Reports By Year
Quarterly Newsletter
Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Internships

Contact Us

Space Studies Board
500 Fifth Street NW
Washington, DC
Phone: (202) 334-3477
Fax: (202) 334-3701

Bookmark and Share 

  Follow us on Twitter 

Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science 



Project Information


The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will appoint the Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Sciences (CAPS) to operate as an ad-hoc committee. The overarching purpose of the committee is to support scientific progress in astrobiology and planetary science and assist the federal government in integrating and planning programs in these fields by providing advice on the implementation of decadal survey recommendations. The CAPS provides an independent, authoritative forum for identifying and discussing issues in astrobiology and planetary science between the research community, the federal government, and the interested public.

The CAPS will issue reports that will provide guidance to federal agencies that support astrobiology and planetary science research. The CAPS scope spans space-based and supporting ground-based planetary research within our own planetary system, including, for example, geosciences, atmospheres, particles and fields of planets, moons, and small bodies, as well as astrobiology, planetary astronomy, and planetary protection. The CAPS's scope also includes appropriate cross-disciplinary areas and consideration of budget and programmatic aspects of the implementation of the decadal survey.

The Committee will build on the current decadal survey of the field, "Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022" (VVPS) and monitor the progress of its recommended priorities for the most important scientific and technical activities in that report and recommendations in the mid-decadal review report due to be issued in 2017.

The committee will carry out its charge by undertaking the following tasks:

1. At each of its in-person meetings, as appropriate, the committee may prepare concise assessments of progress on the implementation of the decadal survey's recommended scientific and technical activities. The assessments will be based on evidence gathered by the committee at its in-person and virtual meetings. The committee's assessment reports may include findings and conclusions on key strategies being pursued by the agencies and the status of agency actions that relate to the state of implementation.

The reports may also highlight scientific discoveries and engineering and technical advances relevant to progress on the science objectives identified in VVPS and in addition will focus on one or more of the following types of issues:

  • The scientific impact of a change in the technical and engineering design, cost estimate, schedule, or programmatic sequencing of one or more of the survey-recommended activities;
  • The impact of a scientific advance on the technical and engineering design, schedule, or programmatic sequencing of one or more survey-recommended activities;
  • The scientific impact of a course of action at a decision point described in the survey report and recommended therein as being suitable for consultation with an independent decadal survey implementation committee;
  • The scientific impact of implementing recommendations from the mid-decadal review and other relevant Academies' reports.

2. At an in-person meeting, the committee may prepare a concise report with advice on the preparation for future decadal and mid-decadal studies.  These reports will be based on evidence gathered by the committee at its in-person and virtual meetings.  Future decadal and mid-decadal studies will be carried out by an ad hoc committee appointed by the Academies under a separate task.

3. For advisory activities assessed to require a more in-depth review than is possible through the normal operation of the CAPS, the committee will assist the Academies in formulating the task and committee membership for such studies which will be designed as separate tasks.

View mora about this project on Current Projects

Back to top 

Meetings and Events

March 26-28,2019
Washington DC (NAS)
View Agenda and Presentations I Archive of Space Science Week 2019

September 11-13, 2018
Irvine, CA
View Agenda I View Presentations

March 27-29, 2018
Washington, DC
View AgendaArchive of Space Science Week 2018

View Presentations

September 12-14, 2017
Irvine, CA
View PDF agenda I View Agenda CP
View Presentations
March 28-30, 2017
Washington, DC
View PDF Agenda I View Agenda CP

View Presentations I Archive of Space Science Week 2017

Future Meeting Dates:

March 26-28  (Washington, D.C.) and September 10-12,  2019 (Irvine, California)
March 31 - April 2 (Washington, D.C.) and September15-17,  2020 (Irvine, California)

Current Membership 

View Member Bios

Christopher H. House,Co-Chair, The Pennsylvania State University 
William B. McKinnon, Co-Chair, Washington University 
Erik Asphaug,  University of Arizona 
Sushil K. Atreya, University of Michigan
Ronald Breaker, NAS, Yale University
John Clarke, Boston University
Bethany L. Ehlmann, California Institute of Technology 
Alexander G. Hayes, Cornell University 
Sarah M. Horst, Johns Hopkins University
James F. Kasting, The Pennsylvania State University 
Edwin S. Kite, The University of Chicago 
Alyssa Rhoden, Arizona State University 
Nita Sahai,  University of Akron 
Mark P. Saunders,  Independent Consultant 
David J. Stevenson, NAS  California Institute of Technology 


David H. Smith, Senior Program Officer
Andrea Rebholz, Program Coordinator
Sarah Brothers, Associate Program Officer

Back to top 

Past Meeting Presentations

We have posted only presentations which have been made available to us by the presenter.
View our Archive for meetings prior to March 2017
(In Order of Agenda) 

September 11-13, 2018
Lori Glaze
David Beaty
Monica Grady-Permission Pending
Harry McSween-Not available
Elliot Seton-Nash - Not available
Mary Voytek
Steven Clarke-Pending Permission
Barbara Hilton
Kevin Burke
Ander Solorzano- No slides
Matthew Kuhns
Udit Shah-No slides
Penny Boston -No slides
Louise Prockter

March 27-29, 2018
James Green
Mary Voytek
Faith Villas
Nigel Sharp
Thomas Zurbuchen-Pending Permission
Fabio Favata-Slides Not available
David Parker
Maurice Borgeaud
Ji Wu
Hitoshi Kuninaka
Masaki Fujimoto
Carle Pieters
Martha Gilmore
Lisa Pratt-No slides
Athena Coustenis
Clive Neal
Robert Pappalardo-Pending Permission
Barry Goldstein-Pending Permission
Kevin Hand-Pending Permission
Brett Denevi
Karyn Rogers-Slides not available
George Cody
Nita Sahai-Slides not available

September 12-14, 2017
William McKinnon-No slides
Christopher House-No slides
Athena Coustenis
John Clarke
Julie Castilo-Rogez
Robert Pappalardo
David Senske

Jonathan Lunine
James Green
Mary Voytek-No slides
Michael New-No Slides
Penny Boston-Permission pending
Abigail Allwood-No sldies
David Gold
Kenneth Farley
Alan Stern
David Bottjer
Louis Prockter

March 28-30, 2017
James Watzin
Michael Meyers
Mary Voytek
James Green
*This list of available presentations contains only those in which the presenter has agreed to permit its posting on this website.  If there are other presentations you hope to view, please send your request to for further information.
Relevant Links
Reports of the Committee

Report Series: Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science Review of the Planetary Science Aspects of NASA SMD's Lunar Science and Exploration Initiative (2019)


Report Series: Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science Review of the Commercial Aspects of NASA SMD's Lunar Science and Exploration Initiative (2019)


Report Series Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science: Getting Ready for the Next Planetary Science Decadal Survey (2017)