We are soliciting input for a white paper to be submitted to the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey on the value of Extended Missions to planetary science and to the workforce.
There is a tremendous demonstrated value in Extended Missions. They produce excellent science at low incremental cost. Additionally, these missions provide early-career scientists opportunities for active mission involvement and experience in leadership roles, thus increasing diversity at all levels. However, despite NASA’s best intentions, there are aspects of their handling of Extended Missions that have detrimental effects to the success of those missions. We recommend several specific actions to be taken to ensure the financial stability of EMs, for the benefit to science, and to our community of scientists.
This will be an update to the 2016 National Academies report on “Extending Science: NASA’s Space Science Mission Extensions and the Senior Review Process”. We plan to evaluate the recommendations of that study, provide a reminder of those recommendations which have not yet been addressed, and add new recommendations.