Decadal eTownhall meeting is about to start, and apparently some astronomy departments “forgot” to sign up for a webcast slot, so, like modern finance, those of us with the millisecond time advantage will leverage the advantage.
For the rest, here is the liveblog of the webcast, or find a tweet with no delay
(Derek is tweeting).
First question, no doubt, will be: “Roger, WHO chose the Muzak for the people waiting on hold…?”
and we’re off…
apparently proceeds of the popcorn sales at the webcast sites will fund the new projects… hah!
Oh, that was not a joke.
We start off by emphasizing, again, that consensus and everyone being onboard is critical.
No whinging, please.
Hm: “New World, New Horizon” – is the title – wonder if that is a hint.
Roger is on.
Here is the NAP draft of the report
PDF is free, 81 Mb – will the rest of you please pause your download for 3 more minutes…
Ok, Exec Summary:
“The priority science objectives chosen by the survey committee for the decade 2012-2021 are searching for the first stars, galaxies, and black holes; seeking nearby habitable planets; and advancing understanding of the fundamental physics of the universe.”
Ok, here are the priorities:
- Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope – WFIRST
ExoplanetsDark Energy as priority, then dark energyexoplanets – from same instrument.
Sounds like a near-IR SNAP
with a coronograph– a near-IR wide field “New Worlds Observer”?– nope, exoplanet microlensing…
- Explorer Progam (small/medium sized rapid(ish) missions)
- Laser Interferometer Space Antenna!
- IXO – next generation large x-ray observatory
EDIT: the decadal panel asked me to clarify that the ranking of large and medium categories is independent – that is to say, the medium sized development programs below are ranked relative to each other, not to the large programs
- New Worlds Technology Development Program–a competed program to lay the technical and scientific foundation for a future mission to study nearby Earth-like planets
- Inflation Probe Technology Development Program–a competed program designed to prepare for a potential next-decade cosmic microwave-background mission to study the epoch of inflation.
- and the winner is…
- Mid-Scale Innovations – ie instrumentation for existing telescopes
- Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope – ie TMT or GMT – Congress has tipped the scales to TMT – recommend 25% share of $1+G telescope. Committee won’t choose, NSF please do so, with subtle input from Congress, no doubt.
- ACTA – Atmospheric Cherenkov Array
EDIT: as with space – the mid scale ground project is ranked independent of the large
- CCAT – Atacama 25m submillimeter telescope
Strong recommendation buried to go in on JAXA’s SPICA mission
Hmm, is SPICA really W-FIRST?
Ah, Caltech wants SPICA partnership.
No, WFIRST is “JDEM-Omega” – surprise.
With exoplanet microlensing (congratulation, you know who) as the secondary science, and W, W’ as primary.
Feed crashed as Roger said this…
Figure 7.12 – page 199 – WFIRST eats everyone’s lunch in mid-decade.
[Pages 201 and 202 have the analogous "sandcharts" for NSF and DoE.
I don't see DoE managing the funding "hump" at the end of the decade.
Looks like something will have to stretch or give.]
$1.6 billion estimated cost for WFIRST. Seems optimistic.
This is the flagship mission.
Wonder what happened to optical JDEM which was the last priority…
PS: EUCLID – something to contemplate.
More: Wide Field Imager in Space for Dark Energy and Planets
Big expansion of Explorer mission proposed.
LISA ranked third – contingent on LISA Pathfinder in 2012, and ESA keeping LISA as a flagship with 50% cost share.
That’d be post-2020.
IXO is 4th. Sorry.
Committee estimates cost a $5G and medium-high risk.
Recommend $180M for tech for the decade.
IXO is dead.
Tech development for Exoplanet finder – for 2020 – $1-200M for the decade;
and tech development for Inflation Probe.
So no exoplanet imager till next decade.
Ok: x-ray astronomy is in deep doo-doo (that’s a technical term).
Exoplanets are subtly undermined, in my ever so humble opinion.
Exoplanet microlensing is neat, and a good secondary science for
JDEMWFIRST, but it is somewhat orthogonal to where the main effort has been.
Exoplanet imaging/spectroscopy which was going clappers is slammed to a halt, in the US, by this.
Opportunity for ESA to regain the lead in exoplanets, methinks.
My other thought is that DoE really did a good job buying into the system.
Decadal reports used to be NSF/NASA, DoE bought into this one.
Everything is budget constrained.
They recommend what to cut if budgets tighten.
Some good recommendations on smaller programs – new instruments, computation, theory, databases – these are small budget items, but need to be anchored in the report so as to not be eaten by the $ starved big projects.
I didn’t even notice, but SIM was not even mentioned.
SIM is dead.
Ah, page 34 – footnote:
“Two space missions recommended in the 2001 decadal survey Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium–namely ARISE and EXIST–and one recommended by the 1991 The Decade of Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics survey, SIM, do not appear in this survey’s priorities. The goals of ARISE have been largely subsumed by JAXA’s VSOP-2 project and the SAMURAI proposal. EXIST and SIM (now SIMLite) are not included in the recommended program for the decade, following the committee’s consideration of the strengths of competing compelling scientific opportunities and the highly constrained budget scenarios described in this report.”
Also page 168 footnote:
“In considering possible exoplanet missions for the next decade, the committee gave serious consideration to SIMLite but decided against recommending it. SIMLite is technically mature and would provide an important new capability (interferometry). Through precision astrometry it could characterize the architectures of 50 or so nearby planetary systems, provide targets for future imaging missions, and carry out other interesting astrophysics measurements. However, the committee considered that its large cost (appraised by the CATE process at $1.9 billion) and long time to launch (estimated at 8.5 years) make it uncompetitive in the rapidly changing field of exoplanet science. The planetary architecture science can be more efficiently carried out by the committee’s exoplanet strategy involving Kepler, WFIRST, and the ground-based program. The role of target-finding for future direct-detection missions, one not universally accepted as essential, can be done at least partially by pushing ground- based radial-velocity capabilities to a challenging but achievable precision below 10 centimeters per second. Finally, the ancillary astrophysics promised by SIMLite was not judged to be competitive.”
Radio is also downplayed and the panel just said US is NOT going in on SKA.
Might play along with incremental SKA developments
They like anything that would look at 21cm H at z > 10
Not to undermine our community consensus, or anything, but would the dark energy folks please stop moving the playing field (moving the goal is ok) – the JDEM/SNAP concept, in particular, is really stretching things out from what they claimed just a few years ago – time to deliver or get out of the way.
In my ever so humble opinion.