After two years of discussion among hundreds of astronomers, the committee for the 2010 Decadal Surveyn for Astronomy and Astrophysics announced its recommendations today. The two main recommendations were
- building a new infrared space telescope to complement the infrared James Webb Telescope now under construction.
- finishing the ground-based Large Synopic Survey Telescope
The report also called for the federal government to become a partner in one of the two giant ground-based optical telescopes now in the planning stages. In addition, the report recommended that the government increase its participation in the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), a space telescope designed to detect gravity waves, as well as commit monies to begin the design work for a new high resolution X-ray space telescope. Other recommendations including asking NASA to increase its support for medium-sized space telescopes.
The report did not recommend any replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope.
This report follows earlier decadal surveys, for the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, all of which had enormous influence on what federal agencies and astronomers built over the following decade. For example, these decadal surveys recommended the construction of the VLA, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and a host of other telescopes, all of which were built.