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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 were completed between 2010 and 2013.

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. 

New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics recently underwent a midterm assessment (press release, overview, full PDF, NRC web page).

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.

Most recent decadal surveys

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

New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2010) Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science
in the Decade 2013-2022 (2011)
Solar and Space Physics: A Science for
a Technological Society (2013)

Links to additional informational on each decadal survey:

Previous decadal surveys: