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A New SOFIA Science Vision Charter, Progress, and Plans Tom Roellig

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  1. A New SOFIA Science VisionCharter, Progress, and PlansTom Roellig

  2. Why the Need for New Science Vision? • In some recent presentations to scientific review groups, including high-level NASA advisory groups, we have received comments that can be paraphrased as: “The SOFIA science that you have presented is useful, but does not rise to the level that justifies the costs of SOFIA.” • Cost per science observing hour for SOFIA is very high, even compared to expensive space missions like HST, Spitzer, Chandra. The cost per science realized is NASA’s foremost project evaluation metric - therefore we need to emphasize the importance and uniqueness of the SOFIA science potential • Need to develop a small set of potential SOFIA projects: • Immediately recognizable as answering, or instrumental in answering, very important outstanding astrophysics questions • Not a list of everything SOFIA could do, but instead a short list of ”killer science” investigations • The SOFIA data is essential – not just supplementary

  3. New Science Visions Working Group • Co-chaired by Eric Becklin and Tom Roellig • Meet weekly at ARC with USRA and NASA scientists to coordinate efforts • Developed approach and charter given on subsequent slides to attack this issue • Identified four organizational science themes and selected chairs for each of these themes • Panel chairs responsible for identifying the rest of their panel • Provides deputies to the Panel Chairs • Science Project provides financial support if needed to the panel members

  4. Charter • Define a small number (3-4) of big-picture, overarching science themes for which SOFIA will make significant, unique contributions • Assemble a group of senior experts to identify, prioritize, and expand upon sub themes and science questions that can be answered by SOFIA, and how SOFIA will contribute to general astrophysics understanding overall • Consider the recommendations and priorities for SOFIA science being assembled by: • The Vision 2020 Workshop Whitepaper • The January, 2008 AAS SOFIA Workshop Whitepaper • The update to Tom Greene’s 2005 SOFIA Science Cases

  5. This Activity and Other Related Activities • SOFIA’s 2020 Vision – Pasadena Dec. 2007 • Long-term look at SOFIA science and technology over its 20-year lifetime • Draft report from E. Young now out for review • DRM Revision • The charge is to bring the Design Reference Mission (DRM) Science Case papers up to date. The originals were written in 2005. • Xander Tielens, Dan Lester, and Bob Joseph are the leads • The DRM Science Case Papers being revised can be viewed and/or downloaded at: http://www.sofia.usra.edu/Science/science_cases/index.html • The plan is to have the revisions in place by the time of the June, 2008 AAS SOFIA SCTF Workshop

  6. This Activity and Other Related Activities(2) • AAS Early Science Opportunities with SOFIA • Keep AAS whitepaper inclusive, high level • Still need to revise and evaluate to make sure that all the proposed science thrusts are: • Feasible with SOFIA’s performance • If not SOFIA unique, then at least those where SOFIA can make a significant contribution • Targeted at the AAS membership • Can be used as input to the other SOFIA science case development activities (e.g. SOFIA New Science Vision) • Would be a living document that could be revised and added to in future AAS workshops • More detailed, well-thought out science programs published in Astrophysics and Space Sciences • See example for ALMA, dedicated volume 313 • Strive for a dedicated SOFIA issue • Would also include papers describing the observatory and instruments

  7. Products • A concise, clearly written, well documented and peer reviewed Science Vision publication, not more that 50 pages in length, that conveys the compelling scientific contributions of SOFIA, and its complementary and extending role for existing and planned space and ground-based IR observations. • Written for a general astronomy audience. • Science enabled by future yet-to-be-developed instruments < 25% of the Science Vision. • Executive summary of the above paper • A synopsis of the Science Vision of no more than 16 PowerPoint slides for use by the Decadal Survey committee, as well as by the astronomy community in general.

  8. Plans • Present the first draft to the SOFIA Science Council at their next meeting • Material sent to them 8/29/08 for review • Meeting Sept. 18-19 here at ARC • Present the Science Vision for formal review the end of October, 2008 by a Blue Ribbon Panel chaired by John Mather • Prepared list of potential panel members and have iterated this with John Mather • Ball is now in our court to extend invitations • Incorporate the comments and suggestions of the SOFIA Science Council and a Blue Ribbon Review Panel as part of a final SOFIA Science Vision document and slide set

  9. The Blue Ribbon Committee Charter • Review the submitted draft of the Science Vision publication • Attend a day of oral presentations of the new science case material at Ames Research Center on October 24, 2008. • Provide an oral and written evaluation of this material. Does it successfully : • Reflect important science investigations that command wide interest within the astronomical community? • Articulate a unique role for SOFIA in attacking these investigations? • Show that the SOFIA observations are feasible with present and anticipated SOFIA instrumentation? • Indicate how the SOFIA results will complement and enhance the discoveries from other observatories and missions?

  10. Decadal Report Schedule • NASA has now accepted the NAS proposal and has funded it – not sure about the status of the NSF portion • Next steps: • Form committee to pick chair • Pick chair • With chair, pick committee (est. committee will meet in late summer of 08) • Committee will pick panels; panels will work from the fall of 08 through the fall of 09 and submit reports to Committee • Committee will prioritorize missions in winter 09-spring 2010 • Final report will be published in mid- summer 2010.

  11. Schedule