The Decadal Survey provides scientific priorities indirectly through a time sequencing of recommended missions. It is a first-ever comprehensive survey of all Earth sciences that could benefit from spaceborne observations. The study is requested and supported by NASA, NOAA, USGS. The final NRC Report was released 15 January 2007.
Objective of the Decadal Survey
- Supporting activities to support national needs for research and monitoring of the dynamic Earth system during the next decade.
- Identify important directions that should influence planning for the decade beyond.
National Research Council Decadal Survey
In 2004, the National Research Council (NRC) received requests from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Office of Earth Science, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Geography Division to conduct a decadal survey to generate consensus recommendations from the Earth and environmental science and applications communities regarding a systems approach to the space-based and ancillary observations encompassing the research programs of NASA, the related operational programs of NOAA, and associated programs.
Seven Thematically-Organized Panels
Criteria of Prioritization
- Earth Science Applications and Societal Needs
- Land-use Change, Ecosystem Dynamics and Biodiversity
- Weather (including space weather and chemical weather)
- Climate Variability and Change
- Water Resources and the Global Hydrologic Cycle
- Human Health and Security
- Solid-Earth Hazards, Resources and Dynamics
Scientific and Societal Imperatives
- Contributes to the most important scientific questions facing Earth sciences today (scientific merit-discovery, exploration)
- Contributes to applications and policy making (societal benefits)
- Contributes to long-term observational record of the Earth
- Complements other observational systems, including national and international plans
- Affordable (cost considerations, either total costs for mission or costs per year)
- Degree of readiness (technical, resources, people)
- Risk mitigation and strategic redundancy (backup of other critical systems)
- Makes a significant contribution to more than one thematic application or scientific discipline
- Climate change and impacts
- Ice sheets and sea level
- Shifts in precipitation and water availability
- Transcontinental Air Pollution
- Shifts in ecosystems response to climate change
- Human health and climate change
- Extreme events, including sever storms, heat waves, earthquakes and volcanoes
Technology development in support of missions
Leverage International Efforts
- NASA: invest in both mission-focused and cross-cutting technology development to decrease risk in missions and promote cost reduction across multiple missions
Manage Technology Risk
- Restructure or defer missions if international partners select missions which meet most of the measurement objectives of recommended missions then a) establish data access agreements, and b) establish science teams
- Where appropriate, offer cost-effective additions to international missions that help extend the values of those missions
- Sequence missions according to technological readiness and budget risk factors ... technological investments should be made across all recommended missions
- If there are insufficient funds to execute the missions in the recommended timeframes, it is still important to make advances on the key technological hurdles.
- Establish technological readiness through documented technology demonstrations before mission development phase.