Broadly defined, R&A covers the concept studies that provide the science basis for a mission, the necessary technology and techniques for implementing the mission, the calibration, validation, and analysis of data as a mission is underway, and the analysis of archived data after a mission ends. The ultimate goal is to create new knowledge as we explore the Universe, and to use that knowledge for the benefit of all humankind. A full description of all of the different calls for proposals, from Astrophysics, Heliophysics and Earth Science and Planetary Science can all be found in our omnibus solicitation, called Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science (ROSES).
A year or so ago it was appreciated that there was a need for someone to focus specifically on the operation and balance of the SMD's Data Analysis, Research, and Technology Development programs. Having a person devoted to this role provides the Associate Administrator for SMD with an independent overview across all science divisions concerning the balance of programs and the areas in need of support. The first to hold this position and the one who established "SARA" was Dr. Yvonne Pendleton. Dr. Max Bernstein, formerly of the NASA Ames Research Center, now plays this role as SMD's Lead for Research. As a research scientist himself, Dr. Bernstein brings to the position a clear understanding of the needs of the community plus a strong desire to augment the science return from NASA's mission enabling research and data analysis. Frequently heard in townhall meetings these days is the SMD philosophy that science does not result from the launch of a mission or the collection of data. Science only occurs through the analysis and understanding of that data. Therefore, healthy mission science teams and data analysis programs must accompany every successful mission. The SARA position will support healthy mission science and data programs across the Science Mission Directorate. In general, restoring the health of NASA's R&(D)A programs is a very high SMD priority.
SARA works with the Division Directors and Paul Hertz, the Chief Scientist, to balance the research programs across the Science Mission Directorate.
For more information on the activities within the Divisions, including the Flight Programs, please visit the SMD home page. For information pertaining to the Science Mission Directorate's organization and leadership, please view our organizational chart.
For more information related to NASA's Science Research Programs, including Astrophysics, Planetary Science, Heliophysics and Earth Science, visit the Service and Advice for Research & Analysis (SARA) pages.