Planetary Data Science Overview

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Planetary Data Ecosystem

What is the Planetary Data Ecosystem (PDE)?
An Incomplete History of the PDE

NASA defined the PDE as the ad hoc connected framework of activities and products that are built upon and support the data collected by planetary space missions and research programs, which primarily are NASA funded.

The PDE IRB further elaborated on this concept by enumerating the types of information in the PDE and the communities involved.

  • Data returned from space missions and ground-based facilities including observational data, telemetry and other engineering data, samples, and mission planning documents;
  • Data generated by research and analysis projects including observational data analysis, theoretical research, laboratory results, and Earth analog site field tests; 
  • Data generated by citizen scientists, including participants in observation campaigns, contributors to collaborative citizen-science services, and space enthusiasts; 
  • Standards for planetary science data and metadata; 
  • Software including data processing pipelines, analysis tools, search and browse tools, display tools, and simulation tools;
  • Publications including articles, books, conference abstracts, reports, posters, and presentations; and 
  • Education and communication products including value-added products from missions and facilities (websites, captioned photos, etc.), educational materials, recordings of outreach events, products generated for the media, and unpublished photo and video documentary material gathered for public engagement purposes.

The communities include:

  • Personnel from NASA and other space agencies (themselves containing many different stakeholder groups); 
  • Mission and ground-based facility personnel; 
  • Science researchers, technology innovators, software developers, media professionals, historians, artists, and others who use planetary data in a professional capacity; 
  • Amateurs, enthusiasts, and hobbyists; and 
  • Educators, students at all age levels, and parents of students, in both formal and informal education environments.”


Incomplete History of the Planetary Data Ecosystem​

1963 – USGS Astrogeology Science Center established​
1966 – NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive (NSSDCA) established​
1977 – NASA Regional Planetary Image Facilities (RPIFs) established (sunset in 2020)
1982 – National Academy of Sciences Committee on Data Management and Computation (CODMAC) chartered​
1985 – NASA’s Advanced Multi-Mission Operations System (AMMOS) initially developed​
1989 – NASA Planetary Data System (PDS) established​
1998 – NASA Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS)* established​
2005 - NASA Data Analysis Program (e.g. DDAP, MDAP) established
2014 – NASA Planetary Data Archiving, Restoration, and Tools (PDART) program created​
2014 – Mapping and Planetary Spatial Infrastructure Team (MAPSIT) established​
2016 – Idea of Planetary Data Environment/Ecosystem starts to take hold at NASA HQ​
2021 – Planetary Data Ecosystem (PDE) Independent Review Board (IRB) report​
*Formerly Near-Earth Object Observations Programs (NEOO)​


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