The next major survey conducted by NASA will involve a generous number of researchers, including physicists, astronomers, and astrobiologists.
NASA and representatives of the National Academies of Sciences debate and decide the topics of the survey, with a decadal meeting taking place once every ten years. A conference that should have taken place on March 16 was moved into a virtual space due to concerns related to COVID-19.
The aim of the decadal survey is to gather relevant and consistent amounts of data from researchers across several fields that are deemed interesting by NASA. Some of the data which is collected during the survey is employed by the space agency to determine the content and scale of future projects.
NASA boosts the work on establishing reliable planetary defense systems
It has been established that the new Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal will take place from 2023 to 2032. Since there is plenty of time before the survey will begin, the prime step was represented by the need to create a statement of task, which offers directions for the committee that is responsible for the papers submitted by researchers.
Decadal surveys play an important role since they offer a unified approach to the way in which some researchers perceive a specific field and its current state. Committees will take into account the papers which are submitted by researchers and convert them into prototypes of projects that could be pursued by the agency.
A major milestone has been achieved as the planetary defense has been introduced on the list of topics contained within the statement of tasks. NASA has been hard at work on an initiative known as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, with a test being scheduled in July 2021.
The second planetary defense project conducted by NASA, called Near-earth Object Surveillance Mission, will be inaugurated in 2025. Several updates have been implemented to make the decadal survey more useful in the long run.