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Physics of the Cosmos News

5 June 2023

Astronomy and Astrophysics Committee Laboratory Astrophysics Task Force Survey

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have requested that the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee (AAAC) establish a task force (charge letter can be viewed here [PDF]) to address the following 2020 Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics (Astro2020) Recommendation on laboratory astrophysics:

"NASA and the National Science Foundation should (1) convene a broad panel of experts to identify the needs for supporting laboratory data to interpret the results from the new generation of astronomical observatories, (2) identify the national resources that can be brought to bear to satisfy those needs, and (3) consider new approaches or programs for building the requisite databases."

You can learn more about the AAAC Task force on its NSF webpage. The definition of laboratory astrophysics is broad, encompassing laboratory measurements, theoretical calculations, and database development/management aimed at supporting interpretation of astronomical observations and/or astrophysical modeling.

As members of the task force, our initial objective is to survey the current state of laboratory astrophysics in the United States, drawing from the wide range of available materials (e.g., decadal survey reports, white papers, community workshop reports, etc.), and to assess resources that currently support laboratory astrophysics, including grant programs, databases, facilities, and infrastructure. We are seeking community input from researchers at universities, national laboratories, and research institutes to gather information about institutional resources and support for laboratory astrophysics. To assist our efforts in providing a comprehensive assessment of the state of the field, we request that you please respond to this survey, which should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Your input will help us make informed recommendations to the AAAC about the critical needs in laboratory astrophysics and the best way to support the field moving forward.

If you have questions about the task force, please reach out to us at one of the addresses below:

JAXA, NASA XRISM Mission Ready for Liftoff

XRISM launched successfully on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023, at 7:42 p.m. EDT (Thursday, Sept. 7, 8:42 a.m. in Japan). The spacecraft separated from the rocket at 7:56 p.m. EDT.Read more.

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