Status Report

DPS Special Announcement: First Planetary Decadal Study

By SpaceRef Editor
May 3, 2001
Filed under , ,

DPS SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT – First Planetary Decadal Study

I want to underline the importance of the announcement made by the National
Research Council regarding the formation of the Solar System Exploration
Survey Committee and its activities (DPS email #01-16).

We have an unprecedented opportunity to shape the future of solar system
exploration. Dr. Ed Weiler (Associate Administrator, NASA Office of Space
Science) has contracted the NRC to conduct the first planetary decadal
study. It will be overseen by the above committee. Such studies have been
conducted in astronomy for more than 40 years, identifying such goals
as the creation of the Great Observatories (e.g., Hubble Space Telescope).
These studies have had significant impact and carry great political weight
with Congress and the White House, because they represent a consensus of the
relevant scientific community after much open discussion and broad-based
input – from everyone.

Your input is vital to the success of this study.

I personally encourage every planetary scientist, from those with established
careers to post-docs to graduate students, to take the initiative and
contribute to the decadal study. Do not think that because you are a younger
member of our profession or you are not asked to sit on an NRC panel, that you
have nothing of importance to contribute. It is your contribution that will
make this survey important.

The DPS plans within the next few weeks to make available a central website
where you can solicit participation in your own ad hoc working groups to
focus on specific areas of solar system exploration, post your resultant white
papers for all to read (which will be submitted to the appropriate NRC
subpanels), and engage in community-wide online discussions. It will evolve.
We want to cast the broadest possible net across the planetary science
community. Different groups or individuals may decide to work on the same
subjects. Great. All of your voices are needed, individually and collectively.

The above white papers will be collected into a single volume and published.
This will be an important resource document for the current effort as well as
for future decadal studies. A future announcement will detail recommended

There will be much discussion and prioritization of science issues and the
research programs, missions, and other initiatives needed to address those
issues and expand future capabilities. In addition, we hope that some of you
will consider how planetary work can play a role in the future of human space
activities. We also need to consider and discuss how education and public
outreach can be accomplished in the context of our recommendations.

More information and announcements will be forthcoming. You are welcome to
communicate with me on this matter anytime. Your participation is a priority.

On behalf of the DPS Committee,

Mark V. Sykes, Chair


Nick Schneider, on behalf of the DPS Committee
(submissions to Al Harris:

SpaceRef staff editor.