Decadal Surveys

Go to: The Process | Midterm Assessment | Survey of Surveys | Current Status | Most Recent Decadal Surveys

The Process

Once every ten years, the astronomical communities gather panels of experts to set community-wide priorities for the coming decade. These surveys are facilitated by the National Academies and commissioned by the Federal agencies. The most recent surveys started during 2019 and 2020.

Midterm Assessment

Near the half-way point of each decadal survey, the National Academies convenes a new panel of experts to evaluate progress on the priorities set forth by the current decadal survey. Only the progress on the priorities is considered, not the priorities themselves. Based on their assessment of the progress, the midterm review committee will make recommendations to the agencies and the community about how to proceed through the second half of the decade.

Survey of the Surveys: Lessons Learned from the Decadal Survey Process

The National Academies convened an ad-hoc committee to identify best practices of the decadal survey process. The resulting report also presented possible changes that could improve the process and identified challenges that surveys will likely face in the future.

Current status of the Decadal Surveys

Planetary Science

The current Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey began convening in 2020 and will determine the scientific priorities and strategy for 2023-2032. Expected publication is March 2022.

Astronomy and Astrophysics

Pathways to Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 2020s was released after significant COVID-19 related delay on November 4th, 2021.

Heliophysics/Solar Physics

The midterm assessment of A Science for a Technological Society was published in 2020.

Pathways to Discovery

Most recent decadal surveys

The decadal surveys are available for free download from the National Academies Press with an online account.