Help Shape the Future of Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy

by Kelle on November 30, 2011

I am a member of the new System Roadmap Committee formed by NOAO to assess the state of the ground-based optical and infrared system of observing facilities, including both private (e.g., Keck, Magellan) and public (e.g., NOAO) observatories. We are a successor to the past ALTAIR and ReSTAR Committees that performed valuable one-time assessments of the state of the system. We are a standing committee that will advise NOAO and the community on an annual basis.

As I’ve posted about before, the public side of the system is threatened and one of the near-term goals of the committee is to minimize the damage. Our overall objective is to help the community and funding agencies that support us maximize the scientific return of the whole system. The first activity of the Roadmap Committee has been to launch a survey to figure out the facilities and capabilities that are important to the community now and for the next decade. The survey results will be included in the white paper we are preparing on the status of the U.S. Ground-based O/IR System that we hope will be of use to the NSF/AST Portfolio Review Committee. (You can also communicate directly to the Portfolio Review committee.)

Please make 15–30 mins to complete the survey on your ground-based optical and near-infrared observing needs for the present and future. Given the timescale of the NSF Portfolio Review, your responses will be most useful if received before this Friday (Dec 2).

I would like to particularly encourage graduate students and postdocs to complete the survey. The changes that are on the horizon will affect you the most so you should have your say. Also, we need to hear about innovative visions for the future that need to be supported in the new landscape.

The System Roadmap Committee survey is available at: http://www.noao.edu/system-roadmap/communitysurvey/

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