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Volume 269 - Frontier Research in Astrophysics – II (FRAPWS2016) - Ongoing Experiments
The Crisis in Space Astrophysics and Planetary Science: How Commercial Space and Program Design Principles will let us Escape
M. Elvis
Full text: pdf
Pre-published on: 2017 October 12
Published on: 2017 November 15
Astrophysics from space and planetary science face a slowly emerging crisis. The large missions we need for the next generation of observations cost too much to let us do more than one at a time.
This spreads the science out onto a generational timescale, significantly slowing progress in both fields. There are two escape paths. In the long run, but still well within our planning horizon, commercial space will bring launch and, more importantly, spacecraft costs down substantially, allowing parallel missions at multiple wavelengths or to multiple destinations. In the short run, adopting prudent principles for designing a research program will let us maintain vitality in the field by retaining breadth at a modest cost in depth.
Open Access
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