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Science Strategy

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate conducts scientific exploration that is enabled by access to space. We project humankind’s vantage point into space with observatories in Earth orbit and deep space, spacecraft visiting the Moon and other planetary bodies, and robotic landers, rovers, and sample return missions. From space, in space, and about space, NASA’s science vision encompasses questions as practical as hurricane formation, as enticing as the prospect of lunar resources, and as profound as the origin of the Universe.  To ensure the success of the space program through generations to come, we must have simple, but compelling, long-term goals and a coherent, thoughtful plans to achieve them.


PDF format (140 KB) Ensuring Scientific Integrity at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

This report describes the policies that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) currently has in place to ensure scientific and engineering integrity, the actions that NASA has already taken to extend its assurance, and NASA’s plan for additional actions in furtherance of implementing the Administration’s policies on scientific integrity.

The report is organized to respond to the four major areas and seventeen sub-areas addressing scientific and engineering integrity that are explicitly addressed in Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Dr. John P. Holdren’s memo to heads of executive departments and agencies (PDF, 478 KB).

Read the Cover letter from NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. (PDF, 438 KB).


PDF format (2.35 MB) SMD Science Plan for 2010
The 2010 Science Plan identifies the direction NASA has received from the Administration and Congress, advice received from the nation's science community, principles and strategies guiding the conduct of our activities, and challenges we face. The plan that results enables NASA, as Administrator Bolden says, to "do the best science, not just more science."

PDF format (5.0 MB) Responding to the Challenge of Climate and Environmental Change: NASA's Plan for a Climate-Centric Architecture for Earth Observations and Applications from Space

A 49-page report on NASA's plans to revitalize the nation's research satellite system; expand research, applications, technology, and education activities using NASA and non-NASA satellite data; and develop/mature technologies required for the next generation of Earth observing missions.


PDF format (670.9 kB) 2011 NASA Strategic Plan

The NASA Strategic Plan embraces the goals articulated in the Vision for Space Exploration and addresses our strategy for reaching them. To ensure the success of the space program through generations to come, this document outlines simple but compelling goals and a coherent plan to achieve these goals.


PDF format (10.6 MB) 2013 Astrophysics Roadmap

The Astrophysics Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate articulates a long-term plan for scientific exploration of the universe and the search for life beyond the solar system.


PDF format (11.2 MB) 2006 Solar System Exploration Roadmap

The 2006 Solar System Exploration Roadmap was based upon the scientific objectives laid out in the National Research Council of the National Academes (NRC) report, New Frontiers in the Solar System, (referred to as the 2003 Decadal Survey for planetary science) and updated to reflect the planetary exploration goals in the President’s Vision for Space Exploration in 2004.


PDF format (8.9 MB) 2009 Heliophysics Roadmap

This document represents an input of the U.S. heliophysics science community into the strategic planning process for the NASA Science Directorate for the period 2009–2030. NASA Headquarters charged the roadmap team with crafting a sustainable science program achievable within NASA’s resources. With flexibility as a guiding principal and input from the community, including a Town Hall meeting in May 2008, we charted a roadmap to enable first-rate science and encourage new discoveries and partnership opportunities. Our plan is designed to withstand changes in available funding, implementation costs, and limits in launcher availability. It incorporates the healthy launch cadence needed to address the end-to-end system science.


PDF format (2.2 MB) Heliophysics Science and the Moon 2007

This report addresses two distinct complementary roles that Heliophysics science plays within the framework of the Vision for Space Exploration. First, the meaningful advances in our scientific understanding of basic plasma science will be realized by the era of lunar exploration. And second, a greater understanding of heliophysics science will be a critical enabling component for the exploration initiative. This new science is enabled by NASA’s exploration initiative and enabling science that is critical to ensuring a safe return to the Moon and onward to Mars.