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NAC Science Committee

The NAC Science Committee is a standing committee of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC), supporting the advisory needs of the NASA Administrator, the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD), and other NASA Mission Directorates, as required. The scope of the Committee includes all NASA Earth and space science-related programs, projects, activities and facilities. 

The Committee operates under the Terms of Reference that are approved by the NASA Administrator and the NAC annual work plan, which includes topics for Committee meetings. The Committee is managed under procedures that ensure the same spirit of openness and public accountability that is embodied by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). This includes public meetings and public access to Committee records.

The Committee consists of between 5 and 15 members. The current members and their biographical sketches are available on the Members page.

The Committee includes within its reporting structure, and coordinates the activities of, five Subcommittees. The Chairs of these Subcommittees are drawn from the Science Committee members. The five subcommittees and their respective Chairs are listed below.

Subcommittee Name (Acronym)Chair
Astrophysics Subcommittee (APS)Dr. Bradley Peterson
Earth Science Subcommittee (ESS)Dr. Steven Running
Heliophysics Subcommittee (HPS)Dr. Maura Hagan
Planetary Protection Subcommittee (PPS)Dr. Eugene (Gene) Levy
Planetary Science Subcommittee (PSS)Dr. Janet Luhmann

Community engagement in technical analyses such as mission architectures prior to conceptual design are often performed by Analysis Groups, whose Chairs sit as members of the Science Subcommittees.

The Science Committee recently established a Task Group to study the Planetary Analysis Groups to explore whether they should be realigned and how they should be revised so they can serve the science needs of both the Science Mission Directorate and the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate.