Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Report provides NASA with direction for next 10 years of space research

Date:
April 12, 2011
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
A group of prominent researchers from across the United States published a report that is intended as a guide as NASA plans the next 10 years of research in space. The scientists developed a blueprint for fundamental physics research in space for the next 10 years.

During the past 60 years, humans have built rockets, walked on the moon and explored the outer reaches of space with probes and telescopes. During these trips in space, research has been conducted to learn more about life and space. Recently, a group of prominent researchers from across the United States published a report through the U.S. National Academy of Sciences that is intended as a guide as NASA plans the next 10 years of research in space. Rob Duncan, the University of Missouri Vice Chancellor for Research, led the team that developed a blueprint for fundamental physics research in space for the next 10 years.

"When Einstein developed his theory of relativity, no one at the time knew exactly how it could be applied. Yet that basic, scientific discovery opened many doors for us, including the development of technology that led to Global Positioning Systems (GPS)," Duncan said. "Many trillion-dollar technologies are based on these 'basic science' discoveries, so it is vital that we continue to explore these scientific questions that, we hope, will continue to lead to technological advancement. We must continue to develop knowledge out of our curiosity alone, since that often leads to great opportunities. If we stop exploring the unknown, then we will fail to discover things that may be of great importance to our economy in ways that may be difficult to predict."

Duncan's committee, which consisted of Nicholas Bigelow from the University of Rochester, Paul Chaikin from New York University, Ronald Larson from the University of Michigan, W. Carl Lineberger from the University of Colorado, and Ronald Walsworth from Harvard University, developed two overarching "quests" and four specific "thrusts" for fundamental physics research as part of the report, "Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era." The National Research Council will present the report to NASA.

The first quest is to discover and explore the physical laws governing matter, space and time. The second quest is to discover and understand how complex systems are organized. For example, ferns grow with a distinct symmetry and structure to their leaves that are similar to the overall shape of the whole plant. This is an example of "self-similarity" in nature, which could be explored in greater detail in space.

The four specific thrusts that the committee recommended NASA explore in the coming decade are:

  1. Soft Condensed Matter Physics and Complex Fluids -- While some examples exist of this new class of materials, understanding the organizing principles of these new materials, which are typically very strong but very light, could advance materials science dramatically on earth.
  2. Precision Measurements of Fundamental Forces and Symmetries -- This would help scientists determine what is not known about the composition and structure of the universe. For example, some cosmic rays have 100 billion times more energy than the highest energy particles ever produced in "atom smashers" on earth.
  3. Quantum Gases -- Understanding quantum gases can lead to a much better understanding of how particles fundamentally interact with each other. Examples of these materials include superconductors and superfluids. Superconductors are materials that conduct electricity with no resistance while superfluids are those fluids (such as helium at very low temperatures) that have no resistance to fluid flow.
  4. Condensed Matter -- As matter changes into different states, such as solid, liquid and gas, phase changes happen that are similar throughout nature. By studying these changes in space, scientists can alleviate the complication of gravity and better understand the physics effecting these changes.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Report provides NASA with direction for next 10 years of space research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412171210.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2011, April 12). Report provides NASA with direction for next 10 years of space research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412171210.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Report provides NASA with direction for next 10 years of space research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412171210.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Astronomers Spot Largest, Brightest Solar Flare Ever

Astronomers Spot Largest, Brightest Solar Flare Ever

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — The initial blast from the record-setting explosion would have appeared more than 10,000 times more powerful than any flare ever recorded. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
French Apple Fans Discover the Apple Watch

French Apple Fans Discover the Apple Watch

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — Apple fans in France discover the latest toy, the Apple Watch. The watch comes in two sizes and an array of interchangeable, fashionable wrist straps. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

Newsy (Sep. 27, 2014) — Researchers at the University of Michigan simulated the birth of planets and our sun to determine whether water in the solar system predates the sun. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) — A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts, including the first woman cosmonaut in 17 years, blasted off on schedule Friday. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins