platforms (satellite, aircraft, ship, ground) over many years.2 For the synthesis to occur data sets must be in a form in which they can be integrated—at a minimum they must use the same quantities! Standard software and community-accepted standards for data analysis are essential. Data that are archived must also be saved in standard forms so that they can be stored, retrieved, and used efficiently.

Finally, information must be widely disseminated to users to ensure a proper return on the investment of the time and cost of collection. Users include not only the scientists who generate knowledge from the data, but a very large nonscientist community, including engineers who design and implement future missions; managers who make decisions about mission design, selection, and funding; decision makers such as Congress, and the general public. The public includes students, educators, the news media, commercial enterprises, and interested people worldwide.

Table B.1 summarizes the categories of users who need information at different stages of the space mission process shown in Figure B.1. Engineers and scientists are actively involved in all stages, whereas managers are usually making decisions only in the “project” portions of a mission. Congress and the budgetary and policy elements of an administration are involved primarily in the selection process. The public is the ultimate consumer of space-derived knowledge, but it is also a participant in information generation (e.g., the news media and educators), in influencing mission conceptualization and selection, and even, in rare instances, in mission operations (e.g., student selection of targets for the Mars Orbiting Camera).

TABLE B.1 Information Users in the Stages of a Space Mission

Stage

Engineers

Managers

Congress

Scientists

Public

Mission concept

X

X

X

X

Mission selection

X

X

X

X

X

Mission design

X

X

X

Mission building

X

X

X

Mission testing

X

X

X

Mission operations

X

X

X

Science and engineering data analysis

X

X

Information generation

X

X

X

X

Multi-mission information generation

X

X

X

X

2  

See, for example, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2001, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K.



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