By John Hutchings, on behalf of the LRP Implementation Committee
(Cassiopeia – Summer 2015)
While the Mid-Term Review panel is working towards their report, expected near the year-end, many of the LRP initiatives are in a state of flux. The LRPIC keeps track of these regularly, and this memo gives a snapshot of events as they are unfolding now. A summary table of LRP projects with dates, costs, and partners, can be found here.
Now we have approved funding, Canada is a formal member of the TIO, with specified hardware responsibilities. Construction has been halted while complex negotiations take place on the overall future use of the mountain. The recent statement by the Governor of Hawaii covers many of the issues.
There is an active Canadian SKA committee reporting to ACURA, led by Bryan Gaensler. This group has put together a report detailing Canadian interest and capability to move ahead into SKA1. The SKA organization itself has not yet settled on several details of the partnership, and it will take time before Canada is in a clear position to make definite funding applications.
MaunaKea Spectroscopic Explorer is the proposed 10-class MOS upgrade for CFHT. The project office is located and supported at CFHT, and is active in developing detailed designs, conducted with partners that include China and India, as well as the current CFH. A workshop was held in Nanjing in April, and a large international science team will meet in Hawaii in July. This design stage will complete at the end of 2017.
CSA have study contracts in place for a number of specific NASA-approved contributions to WFIRST, both in hardware and software arenas. These studies will be complete in August. Following that, CSA will need to decide what detailed partnership they will support, and enter discussion with NASA on that, and the science return Canada gets.
Following the detailed concept study of a few years ago, CSA currently have a detector development contract with ComDev. A science definition study and further design work development are both pending within CSA.
These are two JAXA proposed space missions with Canadian science interest. JAXA is expected to select between these and other choices this summer, so our options may be affected.
These are linked as single-dish supporting telescopes for ALMA, as well as having their own unique capabilities. The future of Canadian participation in both of these is uncertain and subject to funding needs.
There is an activity to involve a significant number of Canadians in LSST that involves matching funds from the Dunlap Institute. Those interested should look for details as this evolves, as it potentially affects our participation levels in facilities such as Gemini and MSE.
The future directions and funding for space science remain unclear, with no future missions supported. This situation is a significant concern for Canadian space astronomy plans. A workshop to bring some of these issues and ideas forward, has been postponed, but a call for `Topical Teams’ has been issued.