As reported in the SPA SECTION NEWSLETTER, Volume XIX, Issue 53
1. The 2013-2022 NRC Decadal Survey
From: Daniel Baker

The National Research Council (NRC) of the U.S. National Academies on 15
August 2012 issued a "Decadal Survey" for the heliophysics discipline. The
report entitled, "Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological
Society" provides an overview of the principal achievements of roughly the
past decade and also provides a broad survey of the current state of
knowledge in the field. The report also seeks to identify the most
compelling challenges confronting the discipline and strives thereby to
present the highest priority scientific targets for the decade of 2013 -
2022. The report portrays an integrated research strategy across the space
research agencies (NASA, NSF) as well as operational agencies (e.g., NOAA,
DoD, etc.). Based on inputs from some 300 white papers and from dozens of
town hall and community meetings over an 18-month period, the Decadal Survey
represents a community consensus as distilled by the 18-member Steering
Committee. The document is available at link)

The Decadal Survey is the second ever produced by the NRC for solar and
space physics. The first such report was published in 2003. While a heavy
emphasis in the Survey charter was to address science matters, the Steering
Committee and the NRC leadership felt that it was crucial to also focus on
the very real and urgent societal relevance of the space physics discipline.
The report shows quite clearly that the space physics community is at a
watershed moment. This is true in the sense that the scientific research has
reached a level of sophistication such that observations, theory, and
modeling stand ready to serve the pressing needs of a society vitally
dependent on space-based and Earth-based systems that are increasingly
susceptible to space weather. The Survey seeks to empower the community to
innovate, to take advantage of unique constellations of spacecraft and
ground facilities, and study the coupled domains of the heliophysics system.
In all of this, the proposed program seeks to be responsible and to
recognize the current fiscal constraints faced by the Nation.

The steering committee thanks the community for its strong input to the
report and urges all interested researchers to review the report's

Original Charge to the Decadal Survey Committee excerpted from the preface of the Committee report:

The successful initiation of many of the missions and programs recommended in the preceding studies, combined with important discoveries by a variety of ground- and space-based research activities, demonstrated the need for a second decadal survey of solar and space physics. Thus, in March 2010, Edward J. Weiler, NASA’s associate administrator for the SMD, requested that a new decadal strategy survey be initiated (Appendix A). The request was seconded by the leadership of NSF’s Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences. Specific tasks outlined in the request included the following:

• An overview of the science and a broad survey of the current state of knowledge in the field, including a discussion of the relationship between space- and ground-based science research and its connection to other scientific areas;

• Determination of the most compelling science challenges that have arisen from recent advances
and accomplishments;

• Identification—having considered scientific value, urgency, cost category and risk, and technical readiness—of the highest-priority scientific targets for the interval 2013-2022, recommending science objectives and measurement requirements for each target rather than specific mission or project design/implementation concepts; and

• Development of an integrated research strategy that will present means to address these targets.

In response to this request, the NRC appointed the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics
(Heliophysics) Steering Committee, consisting of a 19-member steering group, and 86 additional experts organized into three discipline panels–the Panel on Atmosphere-Ionosphere-Magnetosphere Interactions, the Panel on Solar Wind-Magnetosphere Interactions, and the Panel on Solar and Heliospheric Physics–and five informal working groups. The discipline panels were charged with the task of defining the current state of research in their discipline and determining priorities for scientific investigations in those areas.