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Assessment of the Usefulness and Availability of NASA’s Earth and Space Science Mission Data Appendixes

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Assessment of the Usefulness and Availability of NASA’s Earth and Space Science Mission Data

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Assessment of the Usefulness and Availability of NASA’s Earth and Space Science Mission Data Appendix A Letter of Request National Aeronautics and Space Administration Headquarters Washington, DC 20546–0001 MAR 22 2000 Reply to Attn of: SR. Professor Claude Canizares Chair, Space Studies Board National Academy of Sciences 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 Dear Professor Canizares: The House-Senate Conference Report on Appropriations for NASA includes the following paragraph: “The conferees are concerned that the large amount of data being collected as part of NASA science missions is not being put to the best possible use. To allay these concerns, the conferees direct NASA to contract With the National Research Council (NRC) for the study of the availability and usefulness of data collected from all of NASA’s science missions. The study should also address what investments are needed in data analysis commensurate with the promotion of new missions. We are surprised by these concerns, since the NASA Science Enterprises have, during the past few years, made deliberate efforts to make data from our science missions accessible and user-friendly. On the other hand, we recognize that there is certainly, room for improvement. The purpose of this letter is to readiest that the Space Studies Board (SSB) conduct the study directed by Congress. We are addressing the SSB since it is the NRC entity most closely connected with the content and usage of science research in Earth and space science. We request that you address the following issues: How available/accessible are data from science missions (after expiration of processing and proprietary analysis periods, if any) from the point of view of both scientists in the larger U.S. research community, as well as U.S. education/public outreach specialists? What, if anything, should be changed to improve accessibility?

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Assessment of the Usefulness and Availability of NASA’s Earth and Space Science Mission Data How useful are current data collections/archives from NASA’s science missions as resources in support of high priority scientific studies in each Enterprise? How well are areas such as data presentation, documentation, validation, and quality control being addressed? Are there significant obstacles to appropriately broad scientific use of the data? Are there any changes in data handling and data dissemination that would improve usefulness? Keeping in mind that NASA receives appropriated funds for both mission development as well as analysis of data from earlier or currently operating missions, is the balance between attention to mission planning and implementation versus data utilization appropriate in terms of achieving the objectives of the Enterprises? Should the fraction of a mission’s life-cycle cost devoted to data processing, storage, and accessibility be changed? We look forward to receiving your proposal, including study costs and estimated completion date. Please keep in mind that earlier drafts of the above-mentioned congressional mandate included a report due date of June 15, 2000, which we should still aim for. If you require further information on our current plans or if you would like to discuss study charter and implementation, please work with Dr. Jack Kaye, Director, Research Division in the Office of Earth Science and Dr. Guenter Riegler, Director, Research Division, Office of Space Science. For contractual matters, please contact Ms. Dolores Holland at (202)358–0834. Sincerely, Associate Administrator for Space Science Associate Administrator for Earth Science CC: SR/Dr. G.Riegler SR/Ms. D.Holland YS/Dr. J.Kaye NRC/Mr. J.Alexander