HEAD High Energy Astrophysics Division

14. PCOS News
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Ann Hornschemeier (Chief Scientist) & Alan Smale (Deputy Chief Scientist)

Things have been quite busy in NASA's Physics of the Cosmos (PCOS) Program Office. Recently, in August 2012, we held a jamboree-style Physics of the Cosmos Program Analysis Group (PhysPAG) meeting in Washington, D.C. with approximately 200 registered participants (both in-person and online attendees). This was a wonderful opportunity for the PCOS program office and staff at NASA headquarters to listen to and interact with a large and diverse group of scientists interested in space-based high energy astrophysics and cosmology. The meeting included a special session on Dark Energy from Space and also marked the inaugural meetings of our new Gravitational Wave, X-ray and Gamma Ray Science Analysis Groups (GWSAG, XRSAG and GammaSAG). The Inflation Probe SAG, which has been in operation for over a year, also met and we are also pleased to announce the recently approved Cosmic Ray SAG (CosmicSAG). All of these groups have email lists and webpages available at pcos.gsfc.nasa.gov. All presentations from the August 2012 meeting are also available on the website.

Of great interest at the August PhysPAG meeting were future plans for WFIRST. WFIRST is managed out of the Exoplanet program office but we would like to mention that the WFIRST AFTA SDT is in full swing. Please read more at wfirst.gsfc.nasa.gov.

In summer 2012, the study reports for the X-ray and Gravitational Wave studies were released, and we encourage you to read more in the "Gravity Wave News" and "XRSAG news" in this newsletter. These reports were the culmination of nearly a year of hard work by a team of scientists from the community as well as engineers and scientists at NASA, JPL and SAO. In October 2012, the second installment of the PCOS Program Annual Technology Report (PATR) was released on the PCOS website (pcos.gsfc.nasa.gov). This report gives progress on NASA SAT grants in all PCOS areas as well as the updated technology needs priorities for the year. Proposers to the SAT are strongly encouraged to read this document.

There will be several opportunities to interact with PCOS Program Office, the PhysPAG and the associated SAGs in the coming months. The first such opportunity is at the January AAS meeting in Long Beach, CA. The Sunday before the meeting starts, January 6th, there will be an all-day PhysPAG meeting. The PhysPAG Executive Committee is currently putting together the agenda and we encourage you to contact them with your input for the program (pcos.gsfc.nasa.gov/physpag). On Monday at lunchtime (12:45PM-1:45PM) there is a joint HEAD/PCOS sponsored town hall session with presentations on the results of the Gravitational Wave and X-ray studies and updates on activities in those areas. This town hall will also include GWSAG and XRSAG discussion of options of how to move forward with mission ideas. On Wednesday morning (10:00AM-11:30AM) there will be a PAG session, organized by the PCOS Program Office in collaboration with the other program offices and NASA HQ, with reports from all three PAGS (Cosmic Origins, Exoplanets and Physics of the Cosmos). Finally, there will also be a PCOS booth in the AAS Long Beach exhibit hall for the entire week, so please stop by!

In April 2013, PCOS/PhysPAG is sponsoring a town hall session at the Monterey HEAD meeting and, pending final approval, is co-sponsoring a science session at the Denver APS meeting (one week later) on gravitational wave, X-ray, and dark-energy science as well as a town hall session.

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