Space science: Who's at the helm?


  • Lynn Teo Simarski


Who should set priorities for space science research—the Space Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences, NASA's Space Science and Applications Advisory Committee, or both? This was a basic theme discussed at a symposium on priorities in space research, held by the Space Studies Board January 24 in Washington, D.C. Louis Lanzerotti, chair of the board, commented that setting science priorities was “harder than solving differential equations.”

The board released its report, “Setting Priorities for Space Research—Opportunities and Imperatives,” which stressed the fundamental need for ranking space initiatives. The forum itself was held to gather comments on a draft questionnaire developed to elicit research priorities from space scientists. Both documents were drawn up by a Space Studies Board task force on space priorities chaired by John Dutton of Pennsylvania State University.