Chairs Johnson, Beyer, and Stevens Statement on Release of Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 4, 2021

(Washington, DC) — Today, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Committee for a Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 released a new consensus study, “Pathways to Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 2020s.” This report, also referred to as “Astro2020,” is the seventh decadal survey in astronomy and astrophysics, and it presents the science goals and recommendations for the investments and activities in ground- and space-based astronomy and astrophysics for the next decade. Astro2020 was sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DOE SC).

“Our nation’s astronomy and astrophysics programs are our eyes and ears to the Universe and a gateway for attracting the next generation into STEM careers,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “I’m excited about the bold vision in the ‘Pathways to Discovery’ report. This report not only sets the strategy for achieving the vision, it also prioritizes the necessary investments in the talent that will turn that vision and strategy into transformative discoveries in the understanding of the Universe. The independent, consensus-based decadal surveys have been critical to ensuring that federal investments in scientific research are driven by the priorities of the scientific community. I urge NASA, NSF, and DOE to carefully review the committee’s recommendations and begin finding ways to implement them.”

“I am thrilled to see the release of the Astro2020 report, and I am inspired by the priority scientific questions it identifies,” said Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairman Don Beyer (D-VA). “Astro2020 presents many significant and thoughtful recommendations on the Nation’s space-based astrophysics program, including a new approach for developing large space strategic missions, a dedicated time domain astrophysics program, and concrete actions to sustainably diversify the workforce. The decadal surveys challenge our nation to find innovative solutions to probing humanity’s most pressing and profound questions. I look forward to considering these recommendations in more detail and hearing from NASA on how it will address them.”

“The Astro2020 decadal survey presents a compelling vision for the future of astronomy and astrophysics,” said Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Haley Stevens (D-MI). “The discoveries made by the astronomy community in the last decade alone have been simply extraordinary, and I know they represent just the beginning of what we can learn about the universe and our place within it, enabled by innovations in time domain and multi-messenger astrophysics and the study of planets around other stars. I am glad to see the focus placed on investing in the astronomy workforce. We need talented students and researchers from all backgrounds to maximize the science return on these investments. I am excited to see this vision realized, and I look forward to hearing from NSF on its role in doing so.”