Archive for the ‘NASA’ Category

Every NASA Image In One Archive – Crowd Sourced Index?

Monday, April 17th, 2017

NASA Uploaded Every Picture It Has to One Amazing Online Archive by Will Sabel Courtney.

From the post:

Over the last five decades and change, NASA has launched hundreds of men and women from the planet’s surface into the great beyond. But America’s space agency has had an emotional impact on millions, if not billions, of others who’ve never gone past the Karmann Line separating Earth from space, thanks to the images, audio, and video generated by its astronauts and probes. NASA has given us our best glimpses at distant galaxies and nearby planets‚ÄĒand in the process, helped up appreciate our own world even more.

And now, the agency has placed them all in one place for everyone to see:

No, viewing this site will not be considered an excuse for a late tax return. ūüėČ

On the other hand, it’s an impressive bit of work, although a search only interface seems a bit thin to me.

The API docs don’t offer much comfort:

Name Description
q (optional) Free text search terms to compare to all 
indexed metadata.
center (optional) NASA center which published the media.
description(optional) Terms¬†to¬†search¬†for¬†in¬†‚ÄúDescription‚Ä̬†fields.
keywords¬†(optional) Terms¬†to¬†search¬†for¬†in¬†‚ÄúKeywords‚Ä̬†fields.¬†
Separate multiple values with commas.
location¬†(optional) Terms¬†to¬†search¬†for¬†in¬†‚ÄúLocation‚Ä̬†fields.
media_type(optional) Media types to restrict the search to. 
Separate multiple values with commas.
nasa_id (optional) The media asset’s NASA ID.
photographer(optional) The primary photographer’s name.
secondary_creator(optional) A secondary photographer/videographer’s name.
title¬†(optional) Terms¬†to¬†search¬†for¬†in¬†‚ÄúTitle‚Ä̬†fields.
year_start (optional) The start year for results. Format: YYYY.
year_end (optional) The end year for results. Format: YYYY.

With no index, your results depend on your blind guessing the metadata entered by a NASA staffer.

Well, for “moon” I would expect “the Moon,” but the results are likely to include moons of other worlds, etc.

Indexing this collection has all the marks of a potential crowd sourcing project:

  1. Easy to access data
  2. Free data
  3. Interesting data
  4. Metadata


NASA just made all its research available online for free (Really?)

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

NASA just made all its research available online for free by Tim Walker.

Caution: The green colored links in the original post are pop-up ads and not links to content.

From the post:

Care to learn more about 400-foot tsunamis on Mars? Now you can, after Nasa announced it is making all its publicly funded research available online for free. The space agency has set up a new public web portal called Pubspace, where the public can find Nasa-funded research articles on everything from the chances of life on one of Saturn’s moons to the effects of space station living on the hair follicles of astronauts.

In 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy directed Nasa and other agencies to increase access to their research, which in the past was often available (if it was available online at all) only via a paywall. Now, it is Nasa policy that any research articles funded by the agency have to be posted on Pubspace within a year of publication.

There are some exceptions, such as research that relates to national security. Nonetheless, there are currently a little over 850 articles available on the website with many more to come.

Created in 1958, all of NASA’s research “available online for free,” amounts to approximately 850 documents?

Even starting in 2013, 850 documents seems a bit light.

Truth of the matter is that NASA has created yet another information silo of NASA data.

Here are just a few of the other NASA silos that come to mind right off hand:

Johnson Space Center Document Index System

NASA Aeronautics and Space Database

NASA Documents Online


NASA Technical Report Server

I don’t know if any of those include data repositories from NASA missions or not. Plus any other information silos NASA has constructed over the years.

I applaud NASA making sponsored research public but building yet another silo to do so seem wrong-headed.

Conversion and replacement of any of these silos is obviously out of the question.

Under taking to map all of them together, for some undefined ROI, seems equally unlikely.

Suggestions on how to approach such a large, extant silo problem?

OceanColor Web

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

OceanColor Web

A remarkable source for ocean color data and software for analysis of that data.

From the webpage:

This project creates a variety of established and new ocean color products for evaluation as candidates to become Earth Science Data Records.

Not directly relevant to anything I’m working on but I don’t know what environmental or oceanography projects you are pursuing.

I first saw this in a tweet by Rob Simmon.

Amazon Hosting 20 TB of Climate Data

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Amazon Hosting 20 TB of Climate Data by Isaac Lopez.

From the post:

Looking to save the world through data? Amazon, in conjunction with the NASA Earth Exchange (NEX) team, today released over 20 terabytes of NASA-collected climate data as part of its OpenNEX project. The goal, they say, is to make important datasets accessible to a wide audience of researchers, students, and citizen scientists in order to facilitate discovery.

‚ÄúUp until now, it has been logistically difficult for researchers to gain easy access to this data due to its dynamic nature and immense size,‚ÄĚ writes Amazon‚Äôs Jeff Barr in the Amazon blog. ‚ÄúLimitations on download bandwidth, local storage, and on-premises processing power made in-house processing impractical. Today we are publishing an initial collection of datasets available (over 20 TB), along with Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), and tutorials.‚ÄĚ

The OpenNEX project aims to give open access to resources to aid earth science researchers, including data, virtual labs, lectures, computing and more.


Isaac also reports that NASA will be hosting workshops on the data.

Anyone care to wager on the presence of semantic issues in the data sets? ūüėČ

International Space Apps Challenge

Monday, February 4th, 2013

International Space Apps Challenge

From the webpage:

The International Space Apps Challenge is a two-day technology development event during which citizens from around the world will work together to address current challenges relevant to both space exploration and social need.

NASA believes that mass collaboration is key to creating and discovering state-of-the-art technology. The International Space Apps Challenge aims to engage YOU in developing innovative solutions to our toughest challenges.

Join us on April 20-21, 2013, as we join together cities around the world to be part of pioneering the future. Sign up to be notified when registration opens in early 2013!

The list of challenges will be released around March 15th,

I won’t be able to attend in person but would be interested in participating with others should a semantic integration challenge come up.

I first saw this at: NASA launches second International Space Apps Challenge by Alex Howard.

Sage Bionetworks and Amazon SWF

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Sage Bionetworks and Amazon SWF

From the post:

Over the past couple of decades the medical research community has witnessed a huge increase in the creation of genetic and other bio molecular data on human patients. However, their ability to meaningfully interpret this information and translate it into advances in patient care has been much more modest. The difficulty of accessing, understanding, and reusing data, analysis methods, or disease models across multiple labs with complimentary expertise is a major barrier to the effective interpretation of genomic data. Sage Bionetworks is a non-profit biomedical research organization that seeks to revolutionize the way researchers work together by catalyzing a shift to an open, transparent research environment. Such a shift would benefit future patients by accelerating development of disease treatments, and society as a whole by reducing costs and efficacy of health care.

To drive collaboration among researchers, Sage Bionetworks built an on-line environment, called Synapse. Synapse hosts clinical-genomic datasets and provides researchers with a platform for collaborative analyses. Just like GitHub and Source Forge provide tools and shared code for software engineers, Synapse provides a shared compute space and suite of analysis tools for researchers. Synapse leverages a variety of AWS products to handle basic infrastructure tasks, which has freed the Sage Bionetworks development team to focus on the most scientifically-relevant and unique aspects of their application.

Amazon Simple Workflow Service (Amazon SWF) is a key technology leveraged in Synapse. Synapse relies on Amazon SWF to orchestrate complex, heterogeneous scientific workflows. Michael Kellen, Director of Technology for Sage Bionetworks states, ‚ÄúSWF allowed us to quickly decompose analysis pipelines in an orderly way by separating state transition logic from the actual activities in each step of the pipeline. This allowed software engineers to work on the state transition logic and our scientists to implement the activities, all at the same time. Moreover by using Amazon SWF, Synapse is able to use a heterogeneity of computing resources including our servers hosted in-house, shared infrastructure hosted at our partners‚Äô sites, and public resources, such as Amazon‚Äôs Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). This gives us immense flexibility is where we run computational jobs which enables Synapse to leverage the right combination of infrastructure for every project.‚ÄĚ

The Sage Bionetworks case study (above) and another one, NASA JPL and Amazon SWF, will get you excited about reaching out to the documentation on Amazon Simple Workflow Service (Amazon SWF).

In ways that presentations that consist of reading slides about management advantages to Amazon SWF simply can’t reach. At least not for me.

Take the tip and follow the case studies, then onto the documentation.

Full disclosure: I have always been fascinated by space and really hard bioinformatics problems. And have < 0 interest in DRM antics on material if piped to /dev/null would raise a user's IQ.

NASA-GISS Datasets and Images

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

NASA-GISS Datasets and Images

Data and image sets from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

A number of interesting data/image sets along with links to similar material.

If you are looking for data sets to integrate with other public data sets, definitely worth a look.