NSF FY 2002 Request: Astronomical Sciences

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Publication date: 
12 April 2001

NSF's "FY 2002 Budget Request to Congress" details the Astronomical Sciences request. The Astronomical Sciences Subactivity requestwould increase 5.1%, or $7.62 million, from $148.64 million to $156.26 million.

Within this Subactivity, the Astronomical Sciences (AST) budgetwould increase 1.4%, or $0.77 million, from $53.94 million to $54.71 million. The budget document states:

"The FY 2002 budget request includes $54.71 million for research and instrumentation support in the Astronomical Sciences that will advance the scientific priorities of studies in cosmology and the origin of the universe and the formation of stars and planets. Other priorities include continued support for the development of adaptative optics systems for telescopes, the search for extra-solar planets, research on the origin, evolution, and structure of the Universe, including significant activities in the area of particle astrophysics. A number of these activities involve intra- and interagency partnerships. Grant size will be increased to allow researchers to capitalize on the investments made by the federal, state, and private sectors in major new observational facilities. Support will also be provided for research and development that may lead to important facility upgrades or new installations in the future. Through the ITR priority area, support will be provided for research and applications in databases, data mining, and high speed computation. The Science and Technology Center (STC) for Adaptive Optics will be funded within AST in FY 2002."

Also within this Subactivity, the Facilities budgetwould increase 7.2%, or $6.85 million, from $94.70 million to $101.55 million. The budget document states:

"Support for Gemini Observatories at a level of $11.0 million. The northern Gemini telescope is now in regular science operations, and the southern telescope expects to begin science observations in mid-2001. The Gemini Observatory remains the highest priority among our optical and infrared facilities. Activities for Gemini in FY 2002 will include development of advanced instrumentation and expansion of the public information and outreach effort to better serve the citizens of all the partner countries."

"Following a one-time increment in FY 2001 that enabled major improvements in facilities infrastructure, NAIC [National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center] will be supported at $9.40 million, the level specified in the National Science Board- approved cooperative agreement. This level of support will enable continued operation and maintenance of the renovated Arecibo telescope and the development of instrumentation to take advantage of its greater sensitivity."

"Support for NOAO [National Optical Astronomy Observatories] is at the level of $32.02 million. . . . Activities in FY 2002 include continued design and planning for the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST), an instrument that will be of significant value to studies in atmospheric sciences and space weather in addition to astronomical research."

"Following a one-time increment in FY 2001 that enabled major improvements in facilities infrastructure and attention to deferred maintenance, NRAO [National Radio Astronomy Observatory] support will be decreased to the level of $40.13 million. This reduction of funds has been redirected in part to support ALMA [Atacama Large Millimeter Array]. . . . Activities in FY 2002 include making remaining enhancements in operations at the VLA [Very Large Array] and the Byrd [Green Bank] Telescope."

"Included are funds for maintenance of the established infrastructure for the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), an international project being undertaken in Chile in partnership with the European and Canadian community. Additional Activities in FY 2002 will include testing of antenna prototypes and the design and development of advanced, ultra-sensitive millimeter-wavelength receivers. The project leadership is also pursuing other significant international partnerships. ALMA will be the world's most sensitive, high resolution millimeter wavelength telescope. Funding within the Major Research Equipment Account for Phase I of this project was completed in FY 2001." The request states, "It may be determined that it is more appropriate to fund ALMA from within the Major Research Equipment Account."

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