Cornell astronomers Alex Hayes and Jonathan Lunine have been named chairs for 2 of the six panels for the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032.

Hayes, affiliate professor of astronomy within the School of Arts and Sciences and director of the Cornell Middle for Astrophysics and Planetary Science, will chair the Panel on Ocean Worlds and Dwarf Planet Systems. Lunine, the David C. Duncan Professor within the Bodily Sciences and chair of the Division of Astronomy (A&S), will chair the Panel on Giant Planet Systems.

The 4 different panels within the Planetary survey are: Small Photo voltaic System Our bodies; Mars; Venus; and Mercury and the Moon.

Ready by the Nationwide Academies each 10 years and sponsored by NASA and the Nationwide Science Basis, decadal surveys in varied areas of area science are the mechanisms by which NASA and different federal companies develop complete science and mission methods to information future analysis and flight initiatives.

Along with the survey on Planetary Science, different surveys give attention to Astronomy and Astrophysics, Earth Science and Purposes from House, Photo voltaic and House Physics, and Organic and Bodily Sciences. Cornell Astronomy is represented on the Astronomy and Astrophysics decadal survey with professors Martha Haynes and Gordon Stacey, Ph.D. ’85, and assistant professor Nikole Lewis serving as panel members.

“Whereas the survey outcomes aren’t binding on NASA, they carry appreciable affect on how the area company units priorities for brand new missions and on Congress in contemplating whether or not to fund such missions,” Lunine stated.

Steve Squyres, professor emeritus and former principal investigator for the Mars Exploration Rover Challenge, was the general chair of the final Planetary Decadal Survey, which set a analysis technique for 2013-2022.

“Cornell Astronomy offering two panel chairs to the present planetary decadal, in addition to having hosted the chair of the earlier planetary decadal is, in my view, a mirrored image of the division’s historical past and energy within the discipline of planetary exploration,” stated Hayes, who’s additionally director of Cornell’s Spacecraft Planetary Picture Facility.

As panel chair, Hayes will lead a bunch of consultants in figuring out what mission ideas associated to ocean worlds and dwarf planet techniques should be studied for potential inclusion within the survey’s general suggestions to NASA. Lunine will lead a panel targeted on analysis into the photo voltaic system’s large planets and their rings, moons and magnetic area environments.

Each additionally will assist to arrange and write the science-themed chapters of the survey’s ultimate report.

“The panels look at probably the most urgent questions on their specific a part of the photo voltaic system,” Lunine stated, “and what sorts of future missions are most necessary for answering these questions raised by the outcomes of earlier area missions.”

Kate Blackwood is a author for the School of Arts and Sciences.

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