“Recommendation 1: NASA and DOE should proceed immediately with a competition to select a Joint Dark Energy Mission for a 2009 new start.
The broad mission goals in the Request for Proposal should be 1) to determine the properties of dark energ with high precision and 2) to enable a broad range of astronomical investigations.
The committee encourages the Agencies to seek as wide a variety of mission concepts and partnerships as possible.”
My translation of Rec 1.2 is that it tips the scales towards SNAP.
ADEPT and DESTINY are more narrowly focused on Dark Energy, SNAP is broader.
It will also drive costs up, which risks severe budget overruns.
“Recommendation 2: NASA should invest additional Beyond Einstein funds in LISA technology development and risk reduction, to help ensure the Agency is in a position to proceed in partnership with ESA to a new start after LISA Pathfinder results are understood.”
So, keep LISA alive. The tech risk argument is overstated, in my humble opinion.
Big question is whether ESA will be willing to wait and partner at this stage. At some point ESA will balk at getting screwed by the NASA process again.
If they can find a new partner (China?) they might be able to go it alone on LISA. Most of the tech at this stage is European, what they really need is a big launcher.
“Recommendation 3: NASA should move forward with appropriate measures to increase the readiness of the three remaining mission areas – Black Hole Finder Probe, Constellation-X, and Inflation Probe – for consideration by NASA and the NRC Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics.”
Some of these concepts may come to live again under new names and new scope.
The NRC review – go to bottom for the Free Executive Summary.
NASA formal announcment is expected tomorrow. Figure they will go with the NRC recommendation without trying to mess with it and taking on any responsibility, that might piss off people.
JDEM and LISA are selected.
LISA is ranked after JDEM on technology readiness grounds, even though JDEM is at the concept stage and not at the mission selection. ADEPT and DESTINY can compete with SNAP for the launch slot.
Con-X is dead. For now.
EXIST is also dead.
This is extraordinarily bad news for high energy astronomy.
I’d bet there will be a x-ray SMEX class mission, and I’m sure EXIST or equivalent will try to squeeze into a medium class mission slot, but I don’t know if they’ll fit, and there will be very hard competition from other mission concepts within Science Mission Directorate.
Better hope Chandra lasts a very long time indeed.
Inflation Probe is not even dead, ’cause I don’t think any of the concepts ever got any life.
Maybe the mid-size missions will compete a microwave background polarization misison to test inflation theories, after Plank flies.
‘Course all this happened over a period of just four years…
Who knows what funding and politics will come to NASA in the next decade.