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A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA

View the report


Statement of Task

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine shall convene an ad hoc committee to review the progress of NASA's Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Application program in addressing the strategies, goals, and priorities outlined in the 2011 NRC decadal survey report, Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration, Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era.

1. The committee's assessment will describe:

a. NASA's approach to and progress on realizing the strategies, goals, and priorities outlined in the 2011 decadal survey and other relevant Academies reports;

b. Existing and emerging challenges to and opportunities for the implementation of decadal strategies, goals and priorities, including:

  • Plans for the International Space Station and the long-term future for research infrastructure in Low Earth Orbit (LEO)--including the provision of privately-owned and operated infrastructure;
  • Resource and program constraints,
  • The opportunities and challenges of a multi-sponsor (NASA, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, other government agencies, commercial) science procurement approach using Reference Experiments and Open Databases; and
  • Developments in the research community and its engagement with NASA, CASIS, and other research sponsors.

 c. While considering current and forecasted resources, actions that could be taken to optimize the science value of the program in the context of enabling the expansion of human exploration into deep space. In this regard:

  • The committee will identify and rank from among the “highest priority recommendations” in the decadal survey a set of targeted research priorities which are critical for NASA to conduct in order to enable the expansion of human exploration into deep space.
  • To the greatest extent possible, the committee will also identify the platform environment where the priority research should take place in order to be successful-- such as: Earth analogs, LEO (on ISS through 2024), LEO (on other platforms), beyond Earth orbit (such as, a cis-lunar habitat).
  • In identifying and ranking its targeted research priorities, the committee will consider the full set of “highest priority recommendations” in the decadal survey in conjunction with relevant exploration technology development priorities identified in the NRC report NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities: Restoring NASA's Technological Edge and Paving the Way for a New Era in Space. The committee will also consider NASA's deep space exploration goals and priorities as presented by the agency.
  • Using the remaining “highest priority recommendations,” from the decadal survey, the committee will identify where possible those that are aligned with ongoing activities in other government agencies and, where feasible, the commercial/private sector.

2. The committee will provide guidance about implementation of the recommended portfolio for the remaining years of the current decadal survey, recognizing likely resource and program constraints.


More information on this project may be viewed on our current projects website.

Committee Meetings

February 7-9, 2017
Washington D.C.
View Agenda I View Presentations

April 18-20, 2017
Washington, DC (NAS)
View Agenda I View Presentations
Community Input Colloquium (video)

June 20-22, 2017
Woods Hole, MA
View Agenda I View Presentations

August 28-30, 2017
Irvine, CA
View Agenda  

Committee Membership

View Bios

Robert Ferl
University of Florida

Daniel L. Dumbacher
Purdue University

Reza Abbaschian 
University of California, Riverside

Alan Hargens 
University of California, San Diego

Yiguang Ju 
Princeton University

Dominique Langevin 
Laboratoire de Physique des Solides of the University Paris Sud 

Elliot Meyerowitz, NAS
California Institute of Technology

Gloria Leon
University of Minnesota

W. Carl Lineberger, NAS
University of Colorado, Boulder

Todd Mosher 
Syncroness, Inc.

Elaine Oran, NAE
University of Maryland 

James A. Pawelczyk
The Pennsylvania State University

James T’ien
Case Western Reserve University

Mark Weislogel
Portland State University

Gayle E. Woloschak
Northwestern University


Sandra Graham
Senior Program Officer

Marchel Holle
Research Associate

Dionna Wise
Program Coordinator



Below will be an archive list of names and a link to the slides presented at the committee meeting during open session. We have only included the slides for which the presenter has given consent to post.

February 7-9, 2017
Craig Kundrot
Francis Chiaramonte
David Tomko
Steve Davison
Mark Lee-Not Available
Gale Allen
Julie Robinson
Michael Roberts


April 18-20, 2017
Video Links

June 20-22, 2017

Julie Robinson
Robyn Gatens

* No slides indicate that the presenter did not utilize slides during their presentation.
* Permission pending indicates that the presenter has not given us consent to publish the slides they presented at the meeting.
*Written materials submitted to a study committee by external sources are listed in the project's public access file and can be made available to the public upon request via the Academies Public Access Records Office.


Video Links for
Microgravity Research at NASA: Community Input Colloquium

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Lecture Room National Academy of Sciences
2101 Constitution Avenue NW Washington, D.C. 20418



Integrated Exploration Architecture and Science Gale Allen, NASA

Session 1: Radiation

     Moderator: Gayle Woloschak
     Panelists:  Francis A. Cucinotta, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
                         Kathryn Held, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School
                         Charles Limoli, University of California

Session 2: Biological Adaptation to Spaceflight

     Moderator: Elliot Meyerowitz
     Panelists: Charles Fuller, University of California, Davis
                        Cheryl Nickerson, Arizona State University
                        Anna-Lisa Paul, University of Florida

Session 3: Materials and Combustion
     Moderator: Reza Abbaschian
     Panelists:  Martin Glicksman, Florida Institute of Technology
                         Carlos Fernandez-Pello, University of California, Berkeley
                          David Urban, NASA

Session 4: Fluid Physics and Complex Fluids 
    Moderator:  Mark Weislogel
     Panelists:  Molly Anderson, NASA
                         Mark J. McCready, University of Notre Dame
                         Gretar Tryggvason, University of Notre Dame

Session 5: Fundamental Physics      
     Moderator: Carl Lineberger
     Panelists:  Brian DeMarco, University of Illinois 
                         Eric Cornell, University of Colorado, Boulder
                         Ronald Walsworth, Harvard University

Session 6: Behavior and Countermeasures 
     Moderator: Gloria Leon
     Panelists:  Andrew Feinberg, Johns Hopkins University
                         Stephen Zaccaro, George Mason University
                         Peter Norsk, Baylor College of Medicine

Wrap-up Discussion and Remarks from Chairs

Adjourn for the Day