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The View from NSF. Very Wide Field Surveys in the Light of Astro2010 Space Telescope Science Institute June 13 2011 Nigel Sharp. MPS Request: $1.43B +$80.89M (+ 6.0% ). MPS FY 2012 Budget Request Highlights. MPS Budget Request Reflects NSF Priorities

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The view from nsf

The View from NSF

Very Wide Field Surveys

in the Light of Astro2010

Space Telescope Science Institute

June 13 2011

Nigel Sharp

Mps fy 2012 budget request highlights

MPS Request: $1.43B

+$80.89M (+ 6.0% )

MPS FY 2012 Budget Request Highlights

MPS Budget Request Reflects NSF Priorities

  • Support innovation in healthy core programs

  • Invest in research addressing national priorities

    • OneNSF Activities: SEES, CIF21

  • Advance a strong scientific and technical workforce

    • CAREER, postdocs, GRF, REU

  • Support multidisciplinary research

    • Centers, institutes, and networks

  • Invest in facilities critical for fundamental research

    • New Era of Observation; ties into CIF21

Realities of fy 2011 and 2012 budgets
Realitiesof FY 2011 and 2012 Budgets

Percentages for the FY11 Request are quoted relative to initial FY10 estimates, while percentages for the FY12 Request are quoted relative to FY10 enacted/FY11 CR estimates. FY11 appropriation number includes a 0.2% rescission.


Sample budget suggestions for astro2010
Sample BudgetSuggestions for Astro2010

  • 1: FY11=0.95*FY10, then 2.5%/yr

  • 2: FY11&12=request, then flat

  • 3: FY11&12=request, then 2.5%/yr

  • 4: FY11&12=request, then 4.5%/yr

  • 5: FY11&12=request, then 6.5%/yr

The view from nsf

Current Astro2010 Plans

  • Continuing LSST D&D funding, with efforts to move toward PDR and MREFC start (FY14?)

  • No funding wedge available for mid-scale

    • Seeking ways to create budget space

  • No GSMT commitment in FY12 request

  • No current budget envelope for initiating the recommended “small” increases, but protecting AAG & ATI near current levels

  • Pursuing Gemini governance & OIR issues

  • Planning overall strategic review soon

The view from nsf

Strategic Review Plan

  • Assess the proper strategic balance within the division in 2015, 2020, and 2025, including all of the program

    • Based on science program recommended by Astro2010

    • Specific realizable budget scenarios to be addressed

    • Evolution of program also must be realizable

    • Any facility decommissioning may require application of significant funding before savings can be achieved

  • AST working group settling the exact charge and management plan for this strategic review

    • Goal of receiving report by mid-2012

The view from nsf

ATST—Completion 2018

  • Improvements over current state of the art:

    • Resolution – ~3X improvement

    • Light grasp – ~8X improvement (solar physics is actually photon starved in some experiments)

  • Technical Specifications:

    • 4-m, off-axis Gregorian (all reflective), alt-az mount.

    • Integrated adaptive optics.

    • Hybrid enclosure with thermal control and dust

    • mitigation.

    • Wavelength sensitivity from 0.3-28 microns (near-UV through thermal infrared).

    • Field of view: 3 arcminutes.

    • Angular resolution < 0.03 arcsecond.

    • Polarization accuracy < 0.01%.

  • ATST will be the world’s flagship facility for ground-based solar physics observation and the first large US public-access solar telescope constructed in the past 30 years.

The view from nsf

Expanded Very Large Array

  • VLA upgraded through the Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA) project

    • $94M: NSF, Canada, Mexico

    • NSF funding 2001 -> 2011

    • Scheduled for completion in 2012, on time and on budget

    • Same number of antennas.

    • All-new telescope electronics.

      • Continuous frequency coverage from 1–50 GHz

      • Exceedingly capable Canadian correlator

    • Array data transmission via fiber optics.

  • Shared-risk science now

The view from nsf

Antarctic Astrophysics

  • South Pole Telescope operations funded into 2012

  • Various smaller-scale astronomy projects

  • Operation of IceCube Neutrino Observatory

The view from nsf

NSF/NASA - Virtual Astronomical Observatory

  • Move beyond the very successful NVO (international standards, software, data mining support, user interfaces, etc.) to a real astronomical observatory

  • “Just another observatory” where a wealth of detail is covered (hidden?) by the word “just”

  • VAO, LLC preliminary certification to receive federal funding agreed by NSF business office; NSF award made, May 2010; NASA contribution funded through existing centers

  • Strong link with Microsoft Research, World Wide Telescope product

  • Research is being enabled – notable publications at


  • Problem of marketing, branding

The view from nsf

The Dark Energy Survey

  • Study Dark Energy using four complementary* techniques:

  • I. Cluster Counts

  • II. Weak Lensing

  • III. Baryon Acoustic Oscillations

  • IV. Supernovae

  • Two multiband surveys:

  • 5000 deg2g, r, i, Z,Y to i~24

  • 9 deg2 repeat (SNe)

  • Build new 3 deg2 camera

  • and Data Management system

  • DES 30% of 5 years of telescope

  • Response to NOAO AO

  • DES Forecast: FoM up by 4.6

Blanco 4-meter at CTIO

*in systematics & in cosmological parameter degeneracies

*geometric+structure growth: test Dark Energy vs. Gravity

The view from nsf

LSST - four main science goals

Dark Energy and Dark Matter

The structure of our Galaxy

An inventory of the Solar System

Transient events

40Tb = 10-year Sloan, every night

10-year prime mission

50,000-200,000 transients per night – many per second

Total $563M in as-spent, then-year dollars (FY14 start: NSF $392M, DOE $132M,private $39M)

10 years at $40.5M (FY11), ~$600M in then-year dollars

The view from nsf

Citizen Science

  • Exploit HumanComputation

    • It takes a person to interpret

    • a complex image

  • Noveldata collection:

    • Citizen Science = Volunteer Science

    • e.g.,Volunteer Geographic Information

    • e.g., Galaxy Zoo @

  • Citizen science: the involvement of volunteer non-professionals in the research enterprise. The experience must be engaging, must work with real scientific data and information, must address authentic science research questions that are beyond the capacity of science teams and enterprises, and must involve the scientists.

The view from nsf

Concluding Remarks

  • Astronomy funding in the U.S. is healthy, and will support a robust program

  • In the context of a budget that does not increase, any new initiatives will require decommissioning, or creative use, of existing facilities

  • It will be essential that we make the most effective scientific use of public, private, and international facilities