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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Physics and Astronomy
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Astro2010: The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey


2010_New Worlds New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics


New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics

Released in 2010

Driven by discoveries, and enabled by leaps in technology and imagination, our understanding of the universe has changed dramatically over the course of the last few decades.  The fields of astronomy and astrophysics are making new connections to physics, chemistry, biology, and computer science. Based on a broad and comprehensive survey of scientific opportunities, infrastructure, and organization in a national and international context, New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics outlines a plan for ground- and space- based astronomy and astrophysics for the decade of the 2010's.

Realizing these scientific opportunities is contingent upon maintaining and strengthening the foundations of the research enterprise including technological development, theory, computation and data handling, laboratory experiments, and human resources. New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics proposes enhancing innovative but moderate-cost programs in space and on the ground that will enable the community to respond rapidly and flexibly to new scientific discoveries. The book recommends beginning construction on survey telescopes in space and on the ground to investigate the nature of dark energy, as well as the next generation of large ground-based giant optical telescopes and a new class of space-based gravitational observatory to observe the merging of distant black holes and precisely test theories of gravity.

New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics recommends a balanced and executable program that will support research surrounding the most profound questions about the cosmos. The discoveries ahead will facilitate the search for habitable planets, shed light on dark energy and dark matter, and aid our understanding of the history of the universe and how the earliest stars and galaxies formed. The book 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.


2010_panel reports--new_worlds_new_horizons

Panel Reports--New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics

Released in 2010

Every ten years the National Research Council releases a survey of astronomy and astrophysics outlining priorities for the coming decade. The most recent survey, titled New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, provides overall priorities and recommendations for the field as a whole based on a broad and comprehensive examination of scientific opportunities, infrastructure, and organization in a national and international context.

Panel Reports--New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics is a collection of reports, each of which addresses a key sub-area of the field, prepared by specialists in that subarea, and each of which played an important role in setting overall priorities for the field. The collection, published in a single volume, includes the reports of the following panels:Cosmology and Fundamental Physics; Galaxies Across Cosmic Time; The Galactic Neighborhood; Stars and Stellar Evolution; Planetary Systems and Star Formation; Electromagnetic Observations from Space; Optical and Infrared Astronomy from the Ground; Particle Astrophysics and Gravitation; and Radio, Millimeter, and Submillimeter Astronomy from the Ground.

The Committee for a Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics synthesized these reports in the preparation of its prioritized recommendations for the field as a whole. These reports provide additional depth and detail in each of their respective areas. Taken together, they form an essential companion volume to New Worlds, New Horizons: A Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics. The book of panel reports will be useful to managers of programs of research in the field of astronomy and astrophysics, the Congressional committees with jurisdiction over the agencies supporting this research, the scientific community, and the public.



2020 Vision: An Overview of New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics

Released in 2011

Survey Committee Members, Panel Memebrs and NRC Staff

Survey Committee Membership

Roger Blandford, Chair, Stanford University
Lynne Hillenbrand, Executive Officer, California Institute of Technology
Martha P. Haynes, Vice Chair – Science Frontiers, Cornell University
John P. Huchra, Vice Chair – State of the Profession, Harvard-University
Marcia J. Rieke, Vice Chair – Program Prioritization, University of Arizona
Steven J. Battel, Battel Engineering
Lars Bildsten, University of California, Santa Barbara
John E. Carlstrom, The University of Chicago
Debra M. Elmegreen, Vassar College
Joshua Frieman, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Fiona A. Harrison, California Institute of Technology
Timothy M. Heckman, Johns Hopkins University
Robert C. Kennicutt, Jr., University of Cambridge
Jonathan I. Lunine, University of Arizona
Claire E. Max, University of California, Santa Cruz
Dan McCammon, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Steven M. Ritz, SCIPP, University of California, Santa Cruz
Juri Toomre, University of Colorado at Boulder
Scott D. Tremaine, Institute for Advanced Study
Michael S. Turner, The University of Chicago
Neil de Grasse Tyson, American Museum of Natural History
Paul A. Vanden Bout, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
A. Thomas Young, Lockheed Martin Corporation [Retired]

Panel on Cosmology and Fundamental Physics (CFP) Membership

David Spergel, Chair, Princeton University
David Weinberg, Vice Chair, Ohio State University
Rachel Bean, Cornell University
Neil Cornish, Montana State University
Jonathan Feng, University of California at Irvine
Alex Filippenko, University of California at Berkeley
Wick Haxton, NAS, University of Washington
Marc Kamionkowski, Caltech
Lisa Randall, Harvard University
Eun-Suk Seo, University of Maryland
David Tytler, University of California at San Diego
Clifford Will, Washington University

Panel on the Galactic Neighborhood (GAN) Membership

Michael Shull, Chair, University of Colorado
Julianne Dalcanton, Vice-chair, University of Washington
Leo Blitz, University of California at Berkeley
Bruce Draine, Princeton University
Robert Fesen, Dartmouth University
Karl Gebhardt, University of Texas
Juna Kollmeier, Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington
Crystal Martin, University of California at Santa Barbara
Jason Tumlinson, Space Telescope Science Institute
Daniel Wang, University of Massachusetts
Dennis Zaritsky, University of Arizona
Stephen Zepf, Michigan State University

Panel on Galaxies across Cosmic Time (GCT) Membership

Meg Urry, Chair, Yale University
Mitchell Begelman, Vice Chair, University of Colorado
Andrew Baker, Rutgers University
Neta Bahcall, Princeton University
Romeel Davé, University of Arizona
Tiziana di Matteo, Carnegie Mellon University
Henric Krawczynski, Washington University
Joseph Mohr, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Richard Mushotzky, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Chris Reynolds, University of Maryland
Alice Shapley, University of California at Los Angeles
Tommaso Treu, University of California at Santa Barbara
Jaqueline van Gorkom, Columbia University
Eric Wilcots, University of Wisconsin

Panel on Planetary Systems and Star Formation (PSF) Membership

Lee Hartmann, Chair, University of Michigan
Dan M. Watson, Vice-chair, University of Rochester
Hector Arce, Yale University
Claire Chandler, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
David Charbonneau, Harvard University
Eugene Chiang, University of California at Berkeley
Suzan Edwards, Smith College
Eric Herbst, The Ohio State University
David C. Jewitt, University of Hawaii
James P. Lloyd, Cornell University
Eve C. Ostriker, University of Maryland
David Stevenson, California Institute of Technology
Jonathan Tan, University of Florida

Panel on Stars and Stellar Evolution (SSE) Membership

Roger Chevalier, Chair, University of Virginia
Robert Kirshner, Vice Chair, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Deepto Chakrabarty, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Suzanne Hawley, University of Washington
Jeffrey Kuhn, University of Hawai’i
Stanley Owocki, University of Delaware
Marc Pinsonneault, The Ohio State University
Eliot Quataert, University of California at Berkeley
Scott Ransom, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Hendrik Schatz, Michigan State University
Lee Anne Willson, Iowa State University
Stanford Woosley, University of California at Santa Cruz

Panel on Electromagnetic Observations from Space (EOS) Membership

Alan Dressler, Chair, Observatories of the Carnegie Institution
Michael Bay, Bay Engineering Innovations
Alan Boss, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Mark Devlin, University of Pennsylvania
Megan Donahue, Michigan State University
Brenna Flaugher, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Tom Greene, NASA Ames Research Center
Puragra (Raja) GuhaThakurta, University of California Observatories/Lick Observatory
Michael Hauser, Space Telescope Science Institute
Harold McAlister, Georgia State University
Peter Michelson, Stanford University
Ben Oppenheimer, American Museum of Natural History
Frits Paerels, Columbia University
Adam Reiss, Johns Hopkins University
George Rieke, Steward Observatory, University of Arizona
Paul Schechter, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Todd Tripp, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Panel on Optical and Infrared Astronomy from the Ground (OIR) Membership

Patrick S. Osmer, Chair, The Ohio State University
Michael Skrutskie, Vice Chair, University of Virginia
Charles Bailyn, Yale University
Betsy Barton, University of California Irvine
Todd Boroson, National Optical Astronomy Observatory
Daniel Eisenstein, University of Arizona
Andrea Ghez, University of California Los Angeles
J. Todd Hoeksema, Stanford University
Robert Kirshner, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Bruce Macintosh, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Piero Madau, University of California Santa Cruz
John Monnier, University of Michigan
Iain Neill Reid, Space Telescope Science Institute
Charles E. Woodward, University Of Minnesota

Panel on Particle Astrophysics and Gravitation (PAG) Membership

Jacqueline Hewitt, Chair, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Eric Adelberger, University of Washington
Andreas Albrecht, University of California at Davis
Elena Aprile, Columbia University
Jonathan Arons, University of California at Berkeley
Barry Barish, California Institute of Technology
Joan Centrella, NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center
Douglas Finkbeiner, Harvard University
Kathy Flanagan, Space Telescope Science Institute
Gabriela Gonzalez, Louisiana State University
Jim Hartle, University of California at Santa Barbara
Steve Kahn, Stanford University
Jeremy Kasdin, Princeton University
Teresa Montaruli, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Angela Olinto, University of Chicago
Rene Ong, University of California at Los Angeles
Helen Quinn, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

Panel on Radio, Millimeter and Submillimeter Astronomy from the Ground (RMS) Membership

Neal Evans, Chair, University of Texas
James M. Moran, Vice Chair, Harvard University
Crystal Brogan, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Aaron Evans, University of Virginia
Sarah Gibson, National Center for Atmospheric Research High Altitude Observatory
Jason Glenn, University of Colorado
Nicholas Gnedin, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Cornelia C. Lang, University of Iowa
Miguel Morales, University of Washington
Maura McLaughlin, West Virginia University
Lyman A. Page Jr., Princeton University
Jean Turner, University of California, Los Angeles
David J. Wilner, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

NRC Staff
Donald C. Shapero, Director, BPA
Michael Moloney, Astro2010 Study Director (Director, SSB)
Richard Rowberg, Deputy Executive Director, DEPS
Brant Sponberg, Associate Director SSB
Robert Riemer, Senior Program Officer, BPA
Brian Dewhurst, Program Officer, ASEB
James Lancaster, Program Officer, BPA
David Lang, Program Officer, BPA
Teri Thorowgood, Administrative Coordinator, BPA
Carmela Chamberlain, Administrative Coordinator, SSB
Caryn Knutsen, Associate Program Officer, BPA
LaVita Coates-Fogle, Senior Program Assistant, BPA
Beth Dolan, Financial Associate, DEPS


The committee is pleased to acknowledge support from NASA, NSF, and DOE.

Other project information and related links


eTownHall & Webcast
For the public release on August 13, 2010, we coordinated eTownHall meetings to take place across the United States and the world.  We would like to thank all of our eTownhall site hosts for their cooperation, and the scientific community and public at large for their interest in this report!

Did you miss the webcast? Watch the archived webcast now!  After clicking on the link, register on the left-hand side, and use your registration email to login.  The presentation slides (in PDF) from the Astro2010 eTownhall are also available.

Advisory Committee Presentations

October 7, 2010, 9:00am-10:30am EDT
Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee (AAAC) Meeting presentation
National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA
AAAC Presentation Slides

September 28, 2010, 11:00-12:00pm EDT
NASA Advisory Committee, Science Subcommittee Meeting presentation
Virtual Meeting (Webex and Telecon)
NAC Presentation Slides

September 16-17, 2010
NASA Advisiory Committee, Astrophysics Subcommittee Meeting presentation
Virtual Meeting

AAS Organized Townhalls
The AAS organized a series of townhalls across the country on the decadal survey report.  A brief list of the these townhalls and relevant information is below:

January 11, 2011, 12:45pm-1:45pm PDT
AAS Meeting in Seattle, WA
Washington State Convention Center, Ballroom 6B 

November 4, 2010, 1:00pm-4:00pm
NRAO at Socorro, NM
NRAO's Domenici Science Operations Center (DSOC) on the campus of New Mexico Tech

October 28, 2010, 4:00-5:30 pm
University of Colorado, Boulder
JILA Auditorium

October 6, 2010, 3:00pm-6:00pm
Dept. of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago 
Kersten Physics Teaching Center (KPTC), The University of Chicago, 5720 S. Ellis Avenue

October 1, 2010, 4:00-5:00 pm
NCAR/HAO (Center Green Auditorium)

September 25, 2010, 1:00pm-4:00pm
Boston University Department of Astronomy and Institute of Astrophysical Research
BU Photonics Center, Room 906, 8 Saint Mary's Street, Boston, MA 02215

September 20, 2010, 1:30pm-4:00pm
Space Telescope Science Institute/Johns Hopkins University
Bahcall Auditorium, STScI
Web Cast Archive

September 15, 2010, 10:00am-1:00pm
Rutgers University
Physics Lecture Hall, Busch Campus, Rutgers University

September 14, 2010, 1:00pm-4:00pm
University of Alabama in Huntsville and NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center
UA Huntsville Campus, Shelby Center for Science and Technology, Room 107

Invited Talks

Septempber 15, 2010
NASA-Science Mission Directorate Staff
National Research Council's Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences Committee Meeting 

September 2, 2010
Global Science Foundation - AstroParticle Physics meeting

August 30, 2010
SLAC Users' Organization

August 21, 2010
Astro-H Meeting at Stanford

August 19, 2010
ESA Briefing
Kavli Foundation interview with Dr. Blandford 

Press Coverage

August 13, 2010
The Atlantic, "Dark Energy and Exoplanets Top Nation’s Astronomy Agenda"
Christian Science Monitor,"Alien worlds? Far-off galaxies? Study sets US space priorities"
Laboratory Equipment, "Finding Earthlike Planets is Priority"
MSNBC, "1.6 Billion Telescope Would Search Alien Planets"
Nature News, "Report Charts New Course for U.S. Astronomy"
New Scientist, "'Swiss-army knife' telescope tops astronomers' wish list"
Physics World, "U.S. Astronomers Unveil 10-Year Plan"
Popular Science, "What's On Tap For the Next Ten Years of Astronomy? Find Exo-Earths and Figure Out Dark Energy"
Science Insider, "Astronomers' Wish List: Giant Scopes, Satellites, and Lots of Moola"
Scientific American, "Influential astronomy priority list favors multipurpose telescopes"
SPIE, "Astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey recommendations released"
Symmetry Magazine, "Dark Energy Studies Top Astronomy and Astrophysics Priorities"
UPI, "Report Sets 10 Year Science Goals"  
Wired Science, "Dark Energy and Exoplanets Top List of Astronomy Priorities"

August 14, 2010
DNA (Daily News & Analysis), "Report enlists top priority research activities for astronomy and astrophysics"

August 15, 2010
Tehran Times, "Proposal for next big telescope puzzles some astronomers"

August 16, 2010
BBS News,"The Dark Science and Poker of Space Telecopes"
Discovery News, "What’s Ahead for Astronomy in the Next Decade"
Lenta, "American astronomers announced the plan of work for ten years"
The Telegragraph,"Nasa should 'focus energy on new £1bn telescope to find alien planets'"
USA Today, "Astronomers Put Together Their Universal Wish List"

August 18, 2010
Nature, "Far-Sighted Vision"
Nature News, "U.S. Survey Sets Cosmic Priorities"
USA Today, "Astronomers put together their wish lists"

August 2010
Ars Technica, "Next decade of astronomy research to focus on exoplanets, early Universe"

September 1, 2010
NSS, "The National Space Society Calls for Reconsideration of the Funding Proposed for Exoplanet Research in the Astro2010 Decadal Report"
Space News, "Let's Do This Thing"

Spetember 11, 2010
Science News, "Celestial wish list: Astronomers prioritize projects for the coming decade"

Septermber 17, 2010
Space News, "NASA Sees Expanded Role on Euclid as Down Payment on Dark Energy Flagship"

September 19, 2010
Nautre News, "No scope for agency collaboration in space"

October 27, 2010
Nature News, "Space Science: The telescope that ate astronomy"

January 3, 2011
New York Times, "The Quest for Dark Energy May Fade to Black"