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Project Information

Project Information


Astro2020: Panel on Exoplanets, Astrobiology, and the Solar System


Project Scope:

Panel Description:
The Panel on Exoplanets, Astrobiology, and the Solar System will identify and articulate the scientific themes that will define the frontier in research of exoplanets, astrobiology, and the solar system in the 2022-2032 decade. Its scope will include the detection, demographics, and physical characteristics of exoplanets, solar system observations, and astrobiology, as well as stellar activity and properties as revealed by exoplanet observations. The panel will consider as inputs the congressionally mandated reports Exoplanet Science Strategy and An Astrobiology Strategy for the Search for Life in the Universe.

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

PIN: DEPS-SSB-19-07

Project Duration (months): 24 month(s)

RSO: Jones, Christopher

Topic(s):

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



Geographic Focus:

Committee Membership

Committee Post Date: 08/29/2019

Victoria S. Meadows - (Chair)
VICTORIA S. MEADOWS is a professor of astronomy at the University of Washington in the Department of Astronomy. There, she is also director of the Astrobiology Program and principal investigator for the NASA Virtual Planetary Laboratory. Her research interests include theoretical modeling of terrestrial planetary environments to understand their habitability, the generation and detectability of exoplanetary biosignatures and their false positives, and solar system planetary observations. The overarching goal of her research is to determine how to recognize whether a distant extrasolar planet can or does support life. Previously, Meadows was a research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and an associate research scientist at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology. She is a recipient of several NASA Group Achievement Awards, has been on the SETI Institute Science Advisory Board, and was a Frontiers of Science Kavli Fellow. She earned her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Sydney. Meadows served on the National Academies Committee on Astrobiology Science Strategy for the Search for Life in the Universe, and the Committee on Exoplanet Science Strategy, as well as the Searching for Life Across Space and Time: A Workshop committee.
David Brain
DAVID A. BRAIN is an associate chair for undergraduate studies at the University of Colorado (CU). He is also associate professor of astrophysical and planetary sciences in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. At CU, Brain is a co-deputy principal investigator of NASA's MAVEN spacecraft mission at Mars, and project scientist and advisor for the United Arab Emirates Hope spacecraft mission to Mars. His research interests include atmospheric escape and long term evolution of planetary atmospheres; planetary magnetospheres and plasma interactions; and the influence of planetary magnetic fields on climate evolution and habitability. Previously, Brain was a research physicist at the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California Berkeley. He is a recipient of the NASA Early Career Fellowship in planetary sciences. He earned his Ph.D. in astrophysical and planetary sciences from the University of Colorado. He has not previously served on an Academies’ Committee.
Ian J. Crossfield
IAN J. M. CROSSFIELD is assistant professor of astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the Department of Physics. At MIT, Crossfield has led the discovery and characterization of new exoplanets discovered by NASA's TESS and Kepler/K2 missions. In this effort he leads a number of large observational programs with the Hubble Space Telescope (transmission spectroscopy), Spitzer Space Telescope (transit and secondary eclipse photometry), 10m Keck Observatory (precise radial velocities), and 8.2m Gemini Observatory (diffraction-limited adaptive optics and speckle imaging). His research interests focus on the characterization of exoplanet atmospheres to test models of planet formation and of atmospheric chemistry, thermal structure, and general circulation. Previously, Dr. Crossfield was a NASA Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Santa Cruz in the Department of Astronomy and at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Lab, and a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. He also was a systems engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for three years, after which he earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Courtney Dressing
COURTNEY D. DRESSING is an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Astronomy. Dressing is an observational astronomer focused on detecting and characterizing planetary systems. She conducts both statistical investigations of the ensemble of known planetary systems and in-depth studies of individual systems. Her research group uses telescopes on the ground and in space to search for planets, determine their orbital parameters, measure their masses, and constrain their bulk compositions. She is curious about planet formation and evolution, the frequency of planetary systems in the Galaxy, and the prospects for detecting life on planets outside of our Solar System. Previously, Dressing was a NASA Sagan Fellow at the California Institute of Technology. She was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship in 2019 for becoming “a world leader in the search for other worlds.” Dressing earned a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from Harvard University. She has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Jonathan J. Fortney
JONATHAN J. FORTNEY is the director of the Other World Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is also professor of astronomy and astrophysics. Prior to joining UC Santa Cruz, Fortney was a Spitzer Fellow with NASA Ames Research Center and a principal investigator at the SETI Institute. He also held a postdoctoral fellowship with the National Research Council at NASA Ames Research Center. Fortney’s research interests include the interiors and atmospheres of planets in and out of the solar system, atmospheres and spectra of rocky and gas giant exoplanets, super Earth and giant planet thermal evolution, planetary interiors, exoplanet characterization through transit photometry and direct imaging, and the formation of giant planets. He has received numerous fellowships and awards including the Urey Prize in the Division of Planetary Sciences with the American Astronomical Society, the 2010 Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the NASA Early Career Fellowship in Planetary Sciences, and as a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellow. Fortney received his Ph.D. in planetary science from the University of Arizona. He has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Tiffany Kataria
TIFFANY KATARIA is a scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the Astrophysics and Space Sciences Division. Her research focuses on the dynamics and chemistry in the atmospheres of transiting and directly imaged exoplanets, including their atmospheric characterization using ground- and space-based telescopes. She is currently a member of the executive committee of the Exoplanetary Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG), as well as a member of the leadership council for the Infrared Infrared Science Interest Group (IR SIG). Prior to joining the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Exeter. She received her Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the University of Arizona. She has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Kathleen Mandt
KATHLEEN E. MANDT is the planetary science chief scientist for exoplanets at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). At APL, Dr. Mandt serves as the planetary science chief scientist for exoplanets where she is responsible for initiating an exoplanet program that leverages the planetary science, heliophysics, mission leadership, and instrument development expertise at APL to contribute to future detection and characterization of exoplanets. She serves in several community and NASA mission leadership roles, including membership on the Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG) steering committee, and the Division for Planetary Science Professional Culture and Climate Subcommittee. Mandt is the Volatiles Theme Lead for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission and project scientist for the LRO Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) instrument, the deputy project scientist for the Heliophysics Division-funded Interstellar Probe predecadal mission study, is a science team member on the Europa Clipper Plasma Instrument for Magnetic Sounding teams. She previously was a science team member on the Cassini Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer and Rosetta Ion Electron Spectrometer teams. Her research covers a broad range of topics including the dynamics, chemistry and evolution of planetary atmospheres. Dr. Mandt is particularly interested in leveraging the expertise of the planetary science community to advance characterization of exoplanet atmospheres and applying studies in solar system atmospheric evolution to better understand the evolution of exoplanet systems. Previously, Mandt was an adjunct professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Texas at San Antonio and a senior research scientist at Southwest Research Institute. She earned her Ph.D. in environmental science and engineering from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Mark S. Marley
MARK S. MARLEY is a research scientist at NASA Ames Research Center. At NASA Ames Marley primarily studies the atmospheres of extrasolar giant planets and brown dwarfs through theoretical modeling and comparisons to data. His research interests include the chemistry and physics of clouds and hazes, departures from chemical equilibrium, the origin and evolution of extrasolar giant planets, the characterization of extrasolar planets through direct imaging, giant planet seismology, and synergies between Solar System and extrasolar planetary science. Previously, Marley was on the faculty of New Mexico State University in the Department of Astronomy. He has twice been awarded the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and is an associate fellow of Ames Research Center. He earned his Ph.D. in planetary science from the University of Arizona. He has previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Britney E. Schmidt
BRITNEY E. SCHMIDT is an associate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Schmidt is the principal investigator of the Ross Ice Shelf and Europa Underwater Probe (RISE-UP), an interdisciplinary astrobiology and oceanographic investigation leveraging remote sensing and autonomous underwater vehicles to examine Earth’s ice shelves as analogs for extraterrestrial icy moons and their potential for habitability. Her research interest in the astrobiology of icy systems focuses on Europa, where she models the formation of surface terrain to better understand ice-ocean interactions and works on a variety of instrument technology and platforms for subsurface exploration. Schmidt is also a participating scientist on NASA’s Europa Clipper radar team, a member of the Europa Lander and LUVOIR science definitions teams, and an associate of the Dawn mission. She was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, where she was named outstanding early career researcher. She is recipient of a NASA Early Career Fellowship and the Eric R. Immel Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching of the Georgia Tech College of Science. Schmidt earned her Ph.D. in geophysics and space physics from the University of California, Los Angeles. She previously served on the Academies’ Committee on Astrobiology Science Strategy for the Search for Life in the Universe.
Christopher C. Stark
CHRISTOPHER C. STARK is an associate scientist at Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). Stark has led the exoplanet science yield simulations for many of the direct-imaging mission concepts currently under study and is a leading expert in exozodiacal dust and debris disks. His research interests include debris disks/exozodis (both as a source of signal and problematic noise), disk composition, planet-dust dynamics and gravitationally-induced disk structures, high contrast direct-imaging methods and instrument design (including coronagraphy, external occultation, and interferometric nulling), the optimization of observations to maximize the scientific return of direct-imaging missions, and systems design for future exoplanet-imaging missions. Prior to STScI, Stark was a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and a Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carnegie Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Maryland. He has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.


Events



Location:

Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center
100 Academy Way, Irvine, CA 92617
Event Type :  
Meeting

Registration for Online Attendance :   
NA

Registration for in Person Attendance :   
NA


If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Erik Saari
Contact Email:  esaari@nas.edu
Contact Phone:  (202) 334-3477

Agenda
Agenda v5

Supporting File(s)
-
Is it a Closed Session Event?
Some sessions are open and some sessions are closed

Publication(s) resulting from the event:

-

Event Type :  
TeleConference

Registration for Online Attendance :   
NA

Registration for in Person Attendance :   
NA


If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Erik Saari
Contact Email:  esaari@nas.edu
Contact Phone:  (202) 334-3477

Supporting File(s)
-
Is it a Closed Session Event?
Yes

Publication(s) resulting from the event:

-

Event Type :  
TeleConference

Registration for Online Attendance :   
NA

Registration for in Person Attendance :   
NA


If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Erik Saari
Contact Email:  esaari@nas.edu
Contact Phone:  (202) 334-3477

Supporting File(s)
-
Is it a Closed Session Event?
No

Publication(s) resulting from the event:

-

Event Type :  
TeleConference

Registration for Online Attendance :   
NA

Registration for in Person Attendance :   
NA


If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Erik Saari
Contact Email:  esaari@nas.edu
Contact Phone:  (202) 334-3477

Supporting File(s)
-
Is it a Closed Session Event?
Yes

Publication(s) resulting from the event:

-

Event Type :  
TeleConference

Registration for Online Attendance :   
NA

Registration for in Person Attendance :   
NA


If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Erik Saari
Contact Email:  esaari@nas.edu
Contact Phone:  (202) 334-3477

Supporting File(s)
-
Is it a Closed Session Event?
Yes

Publication(s) resulting from the event:

-


Location:

National Academy of Sciences Building
2101 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20418
Event Type :  
Meeting

Description :   

Astro2020: Panel on Exoplanets, Astrobiology, and the Solar System Meeting One

Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 (ASTRO2020)

This meeting will be closed in its entirety.

The panel will review Astro2020 Science white paper submissions.


Registration for Online Attendance :   
NA

Registration for in Person Attendance :   
NA


If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Erik Saari
Contact Email:  esaari@nas.edu
Contact Phone:  (202) 334-2404

Supporting File(s)
-
Is it a Closed Session Event?
Yes

Publication(s) resulting from the event:

-

Event Type :  
TeleConference

Description :   

Astro2020: Panel on Exoplanets, Astrobiology, and the Solar System

Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 (ASTRO2020)

This teleconference will be closed in its entirety.

 


Registration for Online Attendance :   
NA

Registration for in Person Attendance :   
NA


If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Erik Saari
Contact Email:  esaari@nas.edu
Contact Phone:  (202) 334-3477

Supporting File(s)
-
Is it a Closed Session Event?
Yes

Publication(s) resulting from the event:

-

Publications

  • Publications having no URL can be seen at the Public Access Records Office
Publications

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