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By National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Board on Physics and Astronomy, Space Studies Board, NASA Astrophysics Performance Assessment Committee

Whereas a couple of amazing discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics have taken position over the last two decades, many very important questions stay. persevered growth in those fields would require NASA's management. to aid make sure if NASA can meet this problem, Congress, within the 2005 NASA Authorization Act, directed the organisation to have "the functionality of every department within the technological know-how directorate...reviewed and assessed via the nationwide Academy of Sciences at 5-year intervals." In early 2006, NASA requested the NRC to behavior such an evaluation for the agency's Astrophysics department. This file provides an review of ways good NASA's present application addresses the options, ambitions, and priorities defined in earlier Academy stories. The document presents an research of development towards understanding those thoughts, targets, and priorities; and a dialogue of activities that may be taken to optimize the medical worth of this system within the context of present and forecasted assets.

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Extra resources for A Performance Assessment of NASA's Astrophysics Program

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Since this support must be accounted for up front, the net result is either less mission than what was achievable in the past or higher cost. A trend toward increasing mission complexity is to be expected for lagship missions as science goals extend beyond irst-generation survey objectives to more dificult second-generation objectives. In the committee’s judgment, 32 A PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT OF NASA’S ASTROPHYSICS PROGRAM the risks associated with increasing mission complexity have been signiicantly underestimated in the past, leading to a corresponding underestimation of costs and schedules.

The development of JWST has not been without problems. 3 billion, roughly $2 billion (in FY 2006 dollars) more than the AANM decadal survey anticipated. This cost increase can be traced to a number of factors. The cost estimate provided by NASA to the AANM decadal survey committee was unrealistically low. 5 billion through to launch. Since that baseline was established, the cost of the project has increased by nearly another billion dollars. 8This section does not discuss the ARISE mission, which has not been funded and does not appear in any NASA roadmap.

HST and the largest ground-based telescopes have captured such events as they occurred, observations that have helped to characterize the host galaxies. From this work long-duration GRBs were discovered to be associated with distant galaxies, and a few have been clearly associated with supernovas. Swift is now providing large statistical samples of GRBs, and the short-duration GRBs have been localized using the capabilities of HETE-2. 5). Origins of Stars and Planets With its unprecedented capability to examine dusty clouds that are opaque at optical wavelengths, the Spitzer Space telescope has delivered exquisite images of disks around forming stars: the birthplaces of planets.

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