New insights into the Space Astrophysics Landscape for the 2020's and Beyond
Columbia, Maryland—April 8, 2019. Organized by the Universities Space Research Association, an independent non-profit organization, commissioned by the National Academies of Sciences to advance space- and aeronautics-related sciences exploration, The “Space Astrophysics Landscape for 2020’s and Beyond” meeting held in Potomac, Maryland on April 1-3, meeting was a resounding success.
Attended by notables such as Jim Bridenstine, Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Paul Hertz, NASA Science Mission Directorate Astrophysics Division, the meeting attracted approximately 200 people from across the country. It covered:
- Science priorities and themes for the next decade and beyond (with a 20-year horizon)
- Results from the four NASA-funded large mission concept studies (HabEx, LUVOIR, Lynx, and Origins Space Telescope), as well as other possible large (>$1B) mission concepts
- Concepts for medium-sized, Probe-class missions (larger than Explorers and <$1B)
- Relevant ground-based facilities and science goals (e.g., Multi-Messenger activities)
- Major international missions currently planned for the same time frame
- Updates on current missions expected to be operational in the next decade.
Dr. Nicholas White, Senior Vice-President Science at USRA and co-organizer of this Meeting said, “It was the first time that the audience got a global view of the landscape of NASA's Astrophysics programs and its directions for the future. The speakers were outstanding and offered thought- provoking insights.”
The highlight of the event was the NASA Administrator’s talk which centered on NASA’s plans to go to the Moon. Confirming the ambitious plan of returning to the Moon by 2024, a mission requiring innovative technologies and systems and involving commercial and international partners, Mr. Bridenstien assured the audience that in executing this bold agenda, NASA will make every effort to get the required funding and resources. He affirmed the importance of NASA’s balanced portfolio of Flagship missions, Medium class missions and Small missions, and the importance of following the recommendations of the decadal survey.
The meeting was a mix of spotlight talks, mission concept presentations and panel discussions and offered ample opportunity for networking and discussion.