Physics of the Cosmos
Exploring fundamental questions regarding the physical forces of the universe

Physics of the Cosmos Program Analysis Group
(PhysPAG)

Science Gaps List

The Physics of the Cosmos (PhysCOS) program is asking the PhysCOS community to think about science gaps, research areas where additional work is needed, that are relevant to future great observatories as well as general science gaps that are not considered strategic at this time.

Science Gaps can be divided into several categories:

  • Follow-up science: Enhances the science return of a mission already flying.
  • Preparatory science: Enhances the science return & helps plan operations for an upcoming mission that is already designed.
  • Precursor science: Provides information needed to quantify a future mission’s ability to meet its science goals and to assess mission design options.
  • Non-strategic: Open science questions not connected to a currently planned/future mission.

This is the first effort for the PhysCOS community to put together this list that will be eventually published, maintained, and updated on this website in the years to come.

We are soliciting contributions from the Physics of the Cosmos community for science gaps in any of the above categories. Gaps can be submitted via this Google Form.

You are welcome to submit more than one gap, but please submit one gap per form. It is not necessary to complete every field in the form.

Note that this effort is separate from the request for technology gaps as inputs to the ABTR, which will be issued separately.

The PhysCOS Program Analysis Group (PhysPAG) Executive Committee and the PhysCOS chief scientists will collect and edit the submitted gaps, posting a draft document for community feedback. We anticipate repeating this process every one to two years.

Precursor science gaps were discussed during the NASA’s Precursor Science Workshops in 2022 and precursor science gap lists were started by the community. The list of precursor science gaps has been updated during Fall 2023, including contribution from the Physics of the Cosmos community. The new list is published in support of the Astrophysics Decadal Survey Precursor Science (ADSPS, D.16) program and can be found on NSPIRES and also on our website here.

NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration (ExEp) Program has been maintaining and updating a list of science gaps relevant to their science and it can be found here on their website. This list and the way it was built during the years was presented by the ExEp Chief Scientists at the above workshop [PDF].

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