Archive for the ‘Space Data’ Category

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?

MAST Discovery Portal

Monday, November 25th, 2013

A New Way To Search, A New Way To Discover: MAST Discovery Portal Goes Live

From the post:

MAST is pleased to announce that the first release of our Discovery Portal is now available. The Discovery Portal is a one-stop web interface to access data from all of MAST’s supported missions, including HST, Kepler, GALEX, FUSE, IUE, EUVE, Swift, and XMM. Currently, users can search using resolvable target names or coordinates (RA and DEC). The returned data include preview plots of the data (images, spectra, or lightcurves), sortable columns, and advanced filtering options. An accompanying AstroViewer projects celestial sky backgrounds from DSS, GALEX, or SDSS on which to overlay footprints from your search results. A details panel allows you to see header information without downloading the file, visit external sites like interactive displays or MAST preview pages, and cross-search with the Virtual Observatory. In addition to searching MAST, users can also search the Virtual Observatory based on resolvable target names or coordinates, and download data from the VO directly through the Portal (Spitzer, 2MASS, WISE, ROSAT, etc.) You can quickly download data one row at a time, or add items to your Download Cart as you browse for download when finished, much like shopping online. Basic plotting tools allow you to visualize metadata from your search results. Users can also upload their own tables of targets (IDs and coordinates) for use within the Portal. Cross-matching can be done with all MAST data or any data available through the CDS at Strasbourg. All of these features interact with each other: you can use the charts to drag and select data points on a plot, whose footprints are highlighted in the AstroViewer and whose returned rows are brought to the top of your search results grid for further download or exploration.

Just a quick reminder that not every data mining project is concerned with recommendations of movies or mining reviews.

Seriously, astronomy has been dealing with “big data” long before it became a buzz word.

When you are looking for new techniques or insights into data exploration, check my posts under astroinformatics.

Apollo and Gemini Computing Systems

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Apollo and Gemini Computing Systems

Ronald Burkey writes:

Here you’ll find a collection of all the AGC, AGS, LVDC, and Gemini spacecraft computer documentation and software that I’ve managed to find whilst working on Virtual AGC. Every document on this page is archived here at Virtual AGC, regardless of whether it originated here or not. In the early days I used to include only material I uncovered by my own efforts, but there have increasingly been contributions by readers, including some of the original AGC developers. And there’s material here that has been duplicated from other Apollo-centric websites for your convenience; see the FAQ page for a list of the fine Apollo and Gemini websites I raided. Now, there is some value-added in this process, since I add searchable text to those PDFs which are image-only, as well as adding metadata and bookmark panes where they don’t exist. My intention is to eventually provide one-stop-shopping for all of your Apollo and Gemini computing-system documentation needs. Note however, that I choose to duplicate only scanned or photographic images of the original documents. In other words, I provide something as close to the “real thing” as I can. On some sites, notably the Apollo Flight Journal and Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, great pains have been taken to produce HTML forms of the documents. I do not duplicate those improved reformulations here, because that’s original work for which I think credit is due; so you will have to visit those sites to use those improved versions.

Awesome data set!

OK, I admit to a bit of nostalgia because I grew up watching these and earlier space flights.

Indexing and mapping the terminology of these documents would make an interesting project.

To say nothing of comparing the terminology here to later space efforts.


Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

IRODS:Data Grids, Digital Libraries, Persistent Archives, and Real-time Data Systems

From the website:

iRODS™, the Integrated Rule-Oriented Data System, is a data grid software system developed by the Data Intensive Cyber Environments research group (developers of the SRB, the Storage Resource Broker), and collaborators. The iRODS system is based on expertise gained through a decade of applying the SRB technology in support of Data Grids, Digital Libraries, Persistent Archives, and Real-time Data Systems. iRODS management policies (sets of assertions these communities make about their digital collections) are characterized in iRODS Rules and state information. At the iRODS core, a Rule Engine interprets the Rules to decide how the system is to respond to various requests and conditions. iRODS is open source under a BSD license. (emphasis in original)

Provides an umbrella over data sources to presents a uniform view to users.

The rules and metadata don’t appear to be as granular as one expects with topic maps.

I mention it here because of its use/importance with space data and as a current research platform into sharing data.


  1. Current and annotated bibliography for the project.
  2. What are the main strengths/weaknesses of this approach? (3-5 pages, citations)

Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS)

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) is a collaborative effort to create standards for space data.

Interesting because:

  1. Space exploration get funding from governments
  2. Subjects for mapping in a variety of formats, etc.

Assuming that agreement can be reached on the format for a mission, the question remains how do we integrate that data with articles, books, presentations, data from other missions or sources, and/or analysis of other data?

That agreement is reached on a format for one mission or even one set of data, is just a starting point for a more complicated conversation.