Strawman for Australian Decadal Plan for Space Science (30 Sept. 2005) _____________________________________________________________________ _ This is a third draft by IHC. It is mostly intended to excite constructive comments, questions, and modifications by the wider space science community. One question to be debated is whether the Decadal Plan should be general (including, say, space physics, geophysical/planetary remote sensing, and astrobiology) or more restricted. IHC feels that it should be more general and inclusive. Another is how to best combine and address the interests and needs of Science, Industry, and Government. 1. Basic Structure Themes (last for multiple decades) -> Projects, Needs, and Facilities that last for several years to a decade or so. 2. Constituencies that need to be considered: Science, Industry, Government. 3. Basic Purposes: (1) PR so that the Government, politicians, and the public generally considers space science to be a National Priority with science vital to Australia and the international community that is worthy of enhanced financial, infrastructure, and political support. (2) Organization and unification of the community so that it knows what it's primary goals are and agrees to them and how to achieve them. (3) Obtaining further support (financial, political, and technical) for the multiple constituencies that make up and are interested in space science. Principles for action/participation in particular research areas: choose areas i) in which we are known internationally to have extensive expertise and to be competitive ii) in which local Australian information/knowledge is a national priority, iii) where we can leverage Australia's limited funds so that participation adds unique value and benefits to Australia and, ideally, the international community iv) in which we can share, buy into, co-own, or participate in international projects when this is the most cost- and benefit-effective approach. 4. Definition: space science includes all of our solar system beyond the troposphere. Could claim all astrophysics as well, as for NASA's Space Enterprise, but we have left that for the National Committee for Astronomy. Include astrobiology and remote sensing. 5. Draft Themes/Global Science Questions i) Understand the Sun and its connections to Earth, including space weather, the atmosphere, and effects on modern human society. ii) Understand the physics, chemistry, geology, and biology of natural space and astrophysical plasmas. (Physics subthemes might include particle acceleration, radiation processes, and magnetic reconnection, while chemistry/geology might include planet formation, and biology links to astrobiology.) iii) Assess accurately and remotely from orbit the environmental and geological conditions in Australia, Antarctica and their environs. iv) Determine the conditions for life to evolve and whether they met elsewhere in our solar system and beyond. These are directly relevant to three of the current National Research Priorities (e.g., An Environmentally Sustainable Australia, Frontier Technologies for Building and Developing Australian Industries, and Safeguarding Australia) but are more general. This is important since the National Research Priorities are likely to evolve on a decadal time scale and the themes must be sufficiently "big picture" to remain relevant. They must also be achievable on multi-decadal time scales. 6. Science Facilities/Projects These will address specific scientific goals that link into the themes and are expected to be achievable during the decade. They are organised these into Flagship projects and other projects with smaller scope and expense. Examples of science goals include: a) Understand the processes that cause fast magnetic reconnection to occur and result in particle acceleration, with applications to solar and magnetospheric plasmas. b) Observe and model the drivers of terrestrial space weather from the Sun to the ionosphere and troposphere. c) Observe and model spatiotemporal variations in energy flow from the magnetosphere to the lower atmosphere, including the driving and propagation of ionospheric waves and changes in chemistry and other properties of the ionosphere and neutral atmosphere. 6.1 Australian Facilities and Projects i) Flagship - OzSat: TEC/GPS, radio communications, magnetometer, radiation belt & cosmic ray particles, solar radio bursts below 70 MHz, cameras and spectrometers for Earth remote sensing - Requires a new angle that is appealing & innovative on a national and international stage - not just extending FedSat It may be better here to concentrate on something new like Nanosats and unique and traditional payloads. The Newcastle group is already involved in the Canadian ORBITALS mission through the search coil experiment. This will supplement the Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission due to fly in 2010-2012. - new studies of localized ionospheric and atmospheric irregularities coupled to space weather events A low latitude radar system is a possibility here. - detailed probing of geological magnetic irregularities and space weather signatures This would bring in possibly AGSO (although theire directions may have changed) and also the exploration industry. - radiation belt & cosmic ray observations to complement ground- and aircraft-based studies and space weather events - solar radio bursts below 70 MHz and the ionospheric cutoff, for comparison with MWA, SKA, and other ground-based sites. Note here the APRASC (URSI) meeting in Broome next year on this. - remote sensing of environmenmental and geological features (sprites/thunderstorms?, magnetic perturbations due to ore bodies?) See geological irregularities (anomalies) above. - testing of new experiments and technologies before larger-scale international space missions (e.g., thrusters, news sensors ...) - significant industry benefits and high-tech exports GENERAL COMMENT: This may be too big a wish list and needs to be trimmed and consolidated * ii) Flagship - Virtual Center for Space Science, focusing on theory and Formatted: Bullets and Numbering modeling of space science This is a great initiative as it stresses our diversity between institutions and also brings us together - Builds on existing expertise in space physics, plasma astrophysics and astrobiology - Access and management of Australian datasets, linkage to eGY and other international data exchange schemes and virtual observatories Include AAD and IPS. - Node at U. Sydney on theory/modelling of plasma processes and solar/interplanetary physics - connection to astrophysics - Node at Newcastle on magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling - Node at Adelaide on supercomputing and ionosphere-atmosphere coupling - DSTO connection - Node at LaTrobe on radar physics and ionospheric modelling - Node at Macquarie on Astrobiology - Vital to integrate new results and to build/bring together the scientific community (plus Industry & Government). - Future Center of Excellence bid? A decision must be made soon on whether we can mount a viable bid in the next round * iii) Flagship - Octant:Maybe call it Sextant since Australia covers more like Formatted: Bullets and Numbering 1/6 of the worlds land area when Antarctica included – but should check figures. Radar, GPS TEC & scintillations, magnetometer, digisonde, solar radio, and radio communication coverage of Australia's octant of the world. Stretches from the South Pole to the Equator and including Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and perhaps Indonesia. - space weather and associated magnetospheric, ionospheric, atmospheric perturbations - solar and interplanetary physics - easy connection to US, Japanese and other networks for global coverage - provide vital ionospheric information for astrophyical telescopes (MWA, SKA etc.) - major justification for having SKA in Australia. - provide vital ionospheric and atmospheric info (and cover) for Defence/DSTO/JORN - national security connections: communications, best knowledge of conditions in the Octant, high-tech capability - natural connection to FedSat, GPS and international space missions. - Links to UN and International Geo/Helio/physical Year programs for small instrument programs? Also IPY. Include collaboration with the Mike Kelley Distributed Array of Small Instruments (DASI) large infrastructure proposal to go to NSF - major industry benefits and high-tech products for export. iv) Digitisation and autonomous operation of TIGER and other SuperDarn radars - "Virtual Radars" Include low latitude digital radar here. - major improvements in efficiency & effectiveness of operations on going from analog to digital - permit remote/virtual & autonomous operation - permit multiple arrays to be placed cost-effectively in the Octant and worldwide - major industry benefits and high-tech products for export (cf. ATRAD, Genesis etc.). 6.2 Collaboration on International Projects i) NASA's two STEREO spacecraft - official Co-Investigator on the radio and plasma waves experiment SWAVES: CoInvestigators on the Canadian ORBITALS search coil experiment. - complements Mileura Widefield Array (MWA) and Culgoora data streams and experience - space weather: prediction of events from solar radio data - ideal vehicle for extending theoretical expertise in space plasma physics and solar/interplanetary physics - potential links to OzSat and SKA ii) I*Y 2007 (various International Years, such as Int. Heliophysical Year, Int. Geophysical Year, ...) - as ~ 1/8 of the globe's surface, Australia should be a major participant. iii) Mileura Widefield Array (MWA) Extension and Square Kilometer Array (SKA) demonstrators - MWA will be a major solar instrument and probe of the ionosphere - SKA will be a multi-billion dollar international instrument (the "next big thing" in radio astronomy) that could be based in Australia, with major financial and scientific implications - successful use of SKA will demand good knowledge of the ionosphere iv) Future international space missions like Magnetospheric Multi-Scale (MMS - NASA) and RAMA/Interstellar Probe [ESA] Also RBSP and Orbitals - hardware and scientific team members? 7. Industry and Government Projects This Draft only considers Scientific Facilities/Projects in any real detail. Some possible industry and Government projects include the following: * i) Develop technical capability to design, build, and launch space technology and/or payloads: [Industry & Government] - develop low-cost launch capability for sounding rockets and near and low-Earth orbits - test plasma thruster and rocket designs Do we want this to be under our charter? - test new sensors and experiments before larger-scale international space missions - develop spacecraft design and technology capabilities - in-situ testing for atmospheric and ionospheric phenomena observed by Octant, especially at near-equator and mid- latitudes. - links to COSSA, Australian Space Research Institute, National Space Society of Australia & associated satellite programs, plus to existing industry like Electro Optic Systems, Auspace etc. Include VIPAC Government agencies and departments with interests in space science include Defence (e.g., DSTO, communications, radars, remote sensing), DITR [Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources] (e.g., IPS Radio and Space Services, space weather, communications, industry), Education (e.g., DEST, ARC etc., including developing scientifically and technologically literate workers for industry, academia etc.) * ii) Development of an effective Public Outreach program and Speakers Bureau for space science. [Government] - Public is generally unaware of Australian expertise in space science. - Effective speakers on space science would be a valuable resource for the nation, as well as relevant constituencies like scientists, industry, and Government 8. Final Comments This draft make minimal comments on industry or Government, focusing mostly on scientific issues and the scientific community, except for the associated flow-ons to industry and Government. This should not be interpreted as the longterm intention - instead it is a symptom of the relatively small amount of cross-linking presently between Science, Industry, and Government, something that developing a Decadal Plan will start to rectify. There are also no comments on demographics and research productivity, despite these areas providing important arguments for considering Space Science to be a very productive area for investment and development. ______________________________________________ Iver Cairns.
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