Issue Date: April 11, 2011
Renewed Science Focus Needed At NASA
To develop the technologies required for humans to travel beyond low Earth orbit, NASA must renew its commitment to life and physical sciences research, according to a National Research Council report. The agency’s science program has been reduced in recent years because of budgetary challenges and other mission priorities, states the report, which is part of a series of decadal surveys being done for NASA by NRC. As a result of this de-emphasis on science, NASA is poorly positioned to take full advantage of the research opportunities of the International Space Station. To reinvigorate the agency’s program, the report recommends a research portfolio that includes priority work in fundamental physical sciences in space, such as the study of complex fluids and soft matter in a microgravity environment; applied physical sciences, such as combustion processes and modeling; and translation to space exploration systems, including regenerative fuel cells. The report is available at www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13048.
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