serve. These elements are listed below and should be included in planning for future missions and facilities:

  • Archives and data centers should have (1) scientists on staff with a strong background in the scientific discipline being supported and (2) scientific working groups to help set priorities for acquiring, managing, and discarding data.

  • Prelaunch funding should be provided for software development to ensure the timely development of pipelines for processing newly acquired data.

  • Multiyear funding should be provided for research, including research using archived data, on the basis of the quality of the proposals received. A recent senior review (the highest level of peer review within the Space Science Enterprise) of extended planetary missions, for example, noted the success of the archival research programs maintained in astrophysics and suggested that these programs might profitably be emulated by the Planetary Data System.

  • Guest investigator programs should be established to allow the community to conduct research not planned by the initial project teams.

  • Early and open access to data should be provided to permit follow-on proposals to take advantage of new discoveries.

  • A mechanism should be established (such as the senior reviews in space science) for making trade-offs among operations of long-lived missions and operations of active archives and data centers in a way that reflects the scientific merit of the range of possible investments.

The importance of managing data and information from NASA’s space missions will only continue to grow in the coming years. Maintaining the increasing volumes of data in forms that are readily accessible and that meet the needs of very diverse user communities presents intellectual challenges that are at least the equal of the challenges of building and launching hardware into space. NASA is well positioned to become a leader in developing the techniques and tools for querying and mining large nonproprietary data sets. However, doing so will require a new emphasis on software management; rigorous review of the balance between investments in software and hardware to optimize the science return from both individual missions and suites of missions; and development of new techniques for exploring and intercomparing data contained in a distributed system of active archives, data centers, and data services located both in the United States and abroad.



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