AIMI Priority: Explore new data synthesis technologies to leverage the many types of AIM data into new knowledge of the AIM system required for accelerating progress on AIM system science frontiers.

Heterogeneous Data Sets

To accomplish AIM goals in the coming decade, a data environment is needed that draws together new and archived satellite and ground-based geospace data sets from U.S. agencies as well as international partners. This effort is needed to obtain the best possible coverage of the geospace system and describe its evolution over time. This data environment should also provide access to operational space weather data sets, climatological data sets, archived simulation outputs, and the latest technological advances in digital searching, storage, and retrieval and in data mining, fusion, and assimilation, as well as client-side and server-side data manipulation and visualization. These ground and space assets represent a large investment and are vital for the system science goals of the AIM program. The full value of that investment will be realized only if adequate funding is provided. The present Solar and Space Physics Information System (SSPIS) could naturally form the core of this program. The valuable multiagency and international efforts to unify standards and increase interoperability through agreements on data and metadata formats and communication protocols started under the SSPIS program must be an essential component of this effort.

AIMI Priority: Increase investment in the acquisition, archiving, and ease of use of geospace data sets.

Long-Term Data Sets

NASA and NSF should identify essential long-term data sets and pursue maintenance and preservation through funding within the heliophysics data environment activities and related NSF data archives. Some of this data, not in digital formats yet, is in danger of being irretrievably lost. A larger problem is the continuity of key long-term data sets, for example, solar spectral irradiance and 30 years of particle precipitation on operational satellites. Mechanisms do not yet exist to continue such data sets except by competing against new satellite missions. New mechanisms must be established to add instrumentation where possible on rides of opportunity and to partner with other agencies to re-establish space environment monitors on key operational satellite payloads.

AIMI Priority: Establish mechanisms for maintenance and continuity of essential long-term data sets.

Laboratory Experiments

Modeling planetary atmospheres and interpreting information in airglow and auroral emissions from Earth’s atmosphere, planetary bodies, and comets requires detailed knowledge of differential cross sections and of reaction rates. The extraction of information about planetary environments from these emissions and the design of new and innovative remote-sensing instrumentation are dependent on accurate cross-section information. Laboratory experiments are a primary source of this information and have a long history of advancing the discovery of fundamental processes in all of these environments. Critical information on rates and cross sections for key atomic and molecular processes is still lacking. One particular example where cross-section information is highly uncertain and has impeded progress is oxygen ion precipitation and backsplash during extreme space weather events.

AIMI Priority: Establish a program of laboratory experiments joint between NSF, NASA, and DOE that includes measurements of key cross sections and reaction rates.

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