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Project Information

Project Information

Astro2020: Panel on Electromagnetic Observations from Space 1

Project Scope:

Panel Description:
The Panel on Electromagnetic Observations from Space 1 (EOS1) will identify and suggest to the decadal survey committee a prioritized program of federal investment in research activities that involve observations of astrophysical phenomena primarily by means of optical and near-infrared electromagnetic measurements from space. The EOS1 panel will also consider technology development needs to support the prioritized program. In formulating its conclusions, the EOS1 panel will draw on several sources of information: (1) the science forefronts identified by the Astro2020 science panels, (2) input from the proponents of research activities, and (3) independent cost, risk, and technical readiness evaluations. The EOS1 panel's suggestions will be integrated into a program for all of astronomy and astrophysics by the Astro2020 Committee.

Overall Project Statement of Task:
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine shall convene an ad hoc survey committee and supporting study panels to carry out a decadal survey in astronomy and astrophysics. The study will generate consensus recommendations to implement a comprehensive strategy and vision for a decade of transformative science at the frontiers of astronomy and astrophysics. The committee, with inputs from study panels covering the breadth of astronomy and astrophysics, will carry out the following tasks:

  1. Provide an overview of the current state of astronomy and astrophysics science, and technology research in support of that science, with connections to other scientific areas where appropriate;
  2. Identify the most compelling science challenges and frontiers in astronomy and astrophysics, which shall motivate the committee’s strategy for the future;
  3. Develop a comprehensive research strategy to advance the frontiers of astronomy and astrophysics for the period 2022-2032 that will include identifying, recommending, and ranking the highest priority research activities — taking into account for each activity the scientific case, international and private landscape, timing, cost category and cost risk, as well as technical readiness, technical risk, and opportunities for partnerships.  The strategy should be balanced, by considering large, medium, and small activities for both ground and space. (Activities include any project, telescope, facility, experiment, mission, or research program of sufficient scope to be identified separately in the final report.) For each recommended activity the committee will lay out the principal science objectives and activity capabilities, including assumed or recommended activity lifetime, where possible;
  4. Utilize and recommend decision rules, where appropriate, for the comprehensive research strategy that can accommodate significant but reasonable deviations in the projected budget or changes in urgency precipitated by new discoveries or unanticipated competitive activities;
  5.  Assess the state of the profession, using information available externally and, if necessary, data gathered by the study itself, including workforce and demographic issues in the field. Identify areas of concern and importance to the community raised by this assessment in service of the future vitality and capability of the astronomy and astrophysics work force. Where possible, provide specific, actionable and practical recommendations to the agencies and community to address these areas. This report shall be made available following the completion of the study.


Status: Current


Project Duration (months): 24 month(s)

RSO: Day, Dwayne


Engineering and Technology
Math, Chemistry, and Physics
Space and Aeronautics
Policy for Science and Technology

Geographic Focus:

Committee Membership

Committee Post Date: 10/07/2019

Marcia J. Rieke - (Chair)
MARCIA J. RIEKE (NAS) is a Regents Professor of Astronomy and an astronomer at the University of Arizona in the Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory. Her research interests include infrared observations of galactic nuclei and high-redshift galaxies. Rieke has served as the deputy principal investigator on the near-infrared camera and multi-object spectrometer for HST (NICMOS), and she is currently the principle investigator for the near-infrared camera (NIRCam) for the James Webb Space Telescope. She has worked on the Spitzer Space Telescope as a co-investigator for the multiband imaging photometer and as an outreach coordinator and as a member of the Science Working Group. Rieke was also involved with several infrared ground observatories, including the Multiple Mirror Telescope in Arizona. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Rieke received her Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has served on numerous National Academies studies including the Space Studies Board, the Committee on Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2010, and the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Ruslan Belikov
RUSLAN BELIKOV is an astrophysicsist at NASA Ames Research Center. He is also director of the Exoplanet Technologies research group at NASA Ames, which has demonstrated several state of the art milestones in high contrast imaging. In addition, Belikov and his team have been pioneering and advancing technologies to suppress starlight in multi-star systems such as Alpha Centauri to enable direct imaging of exoplanets there. Belikov has served on NASA’s Exoplanet Program Analysis Group executive committee, where he chaired a Science Analysis Group to survey exoplanet statistics. He has over a decade of experience in developing technologies and mission concepts to directly image exoplanets, especially potentially habitable ones. He has a Ph.D. for electrical engineering from Stanford University. He has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Rebecca A. Bernstein
REBECCA A. BERNSTEIN is a staff scientist at the Carnegie Science Institute. Her research has focused on measurements of the diffuse extragalactic backgrounds at optical wavelengths. That work led to an interest in the technical aspects of low surface brightness measurements, stellar spectroscopy, and instrument design. As a Hubble Fellow at the Carnegie Observatories, Bernstein designed and led the development of the echelle spectrograph for the Magellan telescopes (MIKE, commissioned 2001) while developing a method for measuring the detailed chemical abundances of unresolved, extragalactic globular clusters. While on the faculty at the University of Michigan (UM), she also designed the optics for the Folded-port InfraRed Echellette (FIRE) spectrograph for the Magellan telescopes and the prime focus Dark Energy Survey Camera (DECam) used for the DES survey at the CTIO’s 4m Blanco telescope in Chile. After earning tenure at UM, Bernstein moved UC Santa Cruz, where she was the principal investigator and optical designer for the wide-field optical spectrograph for Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), one of its planned first-light instruments. Bernstein served as staff astronomer at the Carnegie Observatories and became the project scientist for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). She earned her Ph.D. for astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology. She has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Lester Cohen
LESTER M. COHEN is the retired Chief Engineer of the Structural Analysis and Design Group at the Center for Astrophysics: Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA). Cohen's areas of expertise include structures, structural mechanics, and mounting and fabrication of optics. He served as lead mechanical engineer, NASA JWST Optical Telescope Element. Cohen has earned 12 NASA group & individual awards including 2 NASA Public Service Medals and 1 Distinguished Public Service Medal for his work on two of NASA’s Great Observatories: Chandra and JWST. He has an M.S. in civil engineering from Northeastern University. He has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Holland C. Ford
HOLLAND FORD is a research professor in the department of physics and astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University. He is also an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute. Ford has more than thirty years of teaching experience as a professor at UCLA, the University of Michigan, and the Johns Hopkins University. His research interests are stellar dynamics, stellar populations, active galactic nuclei, and astronomical instrumentation. He is the principal investigator for the Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys. Ford and G. Illingworth oversaw and coordinated an international team of approximately 50 astronomers, students, and support staff that analyzed HST ACS observations and supporting X-ray and ground-based imaging and spectroscopy. The team has published more than 111 refereed papers with more than 7,000 citations. Ford was a co-investigator on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Faint Object Spectrograph, which Ford used for the first confirmation of a massive black hole in the center of a galaxy. He earned his Ph.D. for astronomy from the University of Wisconsin. He has previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Nikole K. Lewis
NIKOLE K. LEWIS is an assistant professor at Cornell University. She is also deputy director of the Carl Sagan Institute. She probes exoplanet atmospheres using a combination of observational and theoretical techniques. Lewis is involved with a number of ground and space based observational campaigns aimed at characterizing exoplanet atmospheres. Lewis was a Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the James Webb Space Telescope Project Scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute before arriving at Cornell. She received her B.S. in physics and mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, her M.A. in astronomy from Boston University, and her Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the University of Arizona. She has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Bruce Macintosh
BRUCE MACINTOSH is a professor of physics at Stanford University. His research focuses on the detection of extrasolar planets through direct imaging, and on using adaptive optics to shape the wavefronts of light for a variety of applications. Macintosh is a co-discoverer of four planets orbiting the star HR 8799 and is the principal investigator of the Gemini Planet Imager, an advance adaptive optics planet-finder for the Gemini South Telescope. He received his Ph.D. in astronomy at University of California, Los Angeles. Macintosh has served on the Academies’ Astro2010 Panel on Optical and Infrared Astronomy from the Ground, the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Committee on Exoplanet Science Strategy, and the Committee on the Review of Progress Toward the Decadal Survey Vision in New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Amy Mainzer
AMY MAINZER is a professor at the University of Arizona in the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. She previously served as a senior research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in the astrophysics division. At JPL, she served as the principal investigator for the NEOWISE mission, which is a NASA spacecraft dedicated to observing near-Earth asteroids and comets using a thermal infrared space telescope. As the NEOWISE principal investigator, her research focuses on characterizing the population of asteroids and comets through statistical measurements of their sizes, orbits, albedos, and rotational states. The mission began life as the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), and its original purpose was to carry out an all-sky survey at four infrared wavelengths from 3 – 22 microns. Mainzer served as the deputy project scientist for the WISE mission; her responsibilities included flowing down top-level science requirements to the WISE payload components, interpreting payload verification test data, and designing the in-orbit checkout procedures. She has received the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement medal for her work on near-Earth objects and the NASA Exceptional Achievement medal for her work on NEOWISE. Prior to joining JPL, Mainzer worked as a systems engineer at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto. Mainzer is also the principal investigator of a NASA Discovery mission proposal, the Near-Earth Object Camera. She is a member of the NASA Planetary Science Subcommittee. She has previously served on an Academies committee.
Mark P. Saunders
MARK P. SAUNDERS is an independent consultant. Since retiring from NASA in December 2008, he has been consulting to various NASA offices providing program/project management and systems engineering expertise. This has included support to the Office of Chief Engineer, the Office of Independent Program and Cost Evaluation, the Mars Program and the Science Office for Mission Assessments (at Langley Research Center). He has participated in the rewriting of NASA’s policy on program/project management; advised and supported the Agency’s independent program/project review process; and has supported the review of various programs and projects. At NASA headquarters he served as director of the independent program assessment office, where he was responsible for enabling the independent review of the Agency’s programs and projects at life cycle milestones to ensure the highest probability of mission success. At the Office of Space Science he served as program manager for the Discovery Program. He received the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award in 2008, Outstanding Performance awards: 1982, 1994- 2008, and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals in 1998, 2004, 2006. He earned his B.A. in industrial engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has served on the Academies’ Committee for Astrobiology and Planetary Science.
Evgenya L. Shkolnik
EVGENYA L. SHKOLNIK is an associate professor of astrophysics at Arizona State University in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. She is an expert on exoplanets and stars, including the Sun, and studies stellar activity and star-planet interactions using ground and space telescopes to answer questions involving stellar evolution, exoplanet magnetic fields, and planet habitability. She is the principal investigator (PI) of the NASA Star-Planet Activity Research CubeSat (SPARCS) mission, and PI of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST)’s Habitable Zones and M Dwarf Activity Across Time (HAZMAT) program. Asteroid Shkolnik (25156) was named for her. Shkolnik is also a member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute Virtual Planetary Laboratory, and is on several science and technology advisory committees for upcoming space missions. Shkolnik previously was an astronomer at Lowell Observatory, a Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution for Science, and a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Hawaii in Manoa. She earned her Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of British Columbia. She previously served on the Committee on Exoplanet Science Strategy.
C. Megan Urry
C. MEGAN URRY (NAS) is the Israel Munson Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Yale University. She is also director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics. She previously served as chair of the Physics Department at Yale and in the presidential line of the American Astronomical Society. Prior to moving to Yale, Urry was a senior astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which runs the Hubble Space Telescope for NASA. Her scientific research focuses on active galaxies, which host accreting supermassive black holes in their centers. Urry is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society and American Women in Science. She received an honorary doctorate from Tufts University and was awarded the American Astronomical Society’s Annie Jump Cannon and George van Biesbroeck prizes. Urry received her Ph.D. in physics from the Johns Hopkins University and her B.S. in physics and mathematics from Tufts University. She has previously served on an Academies’ committee.

Committee Membership Roster Comments

Note 1: 10/25/19 -Removed David Bearden who resigned from the committee 10/18/19.



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Astro2020: Panel on Electromagnetic Observations from Space 1 Meeting one

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