Thursday, February 10, 2011

NASA's earth data system

Patrick Lynch in Space Mart: If you're distributing 412 million data products in a year to more than 1.1 million users, how do you ever make sure people are getting what they want? The Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Project based at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., came up with a simple formula: They ask.

EOSDIS is the network of Earth science data centers that process, store, and make available the trove of data from NASA's past and current Earth-observing satellites. …Satellites have ushered in a new era of Earth science in the past few decades. A constantly orbiting fleet of NASA satellites keeps its sensors trained on our blue planet - capturing the intricacies of its atmosphere, the seasonal cycles of plant growth and sea ice, and the patterns in ocean circulation and temperature.

EOSDIS manages constant streams of data for scientists to dissect and discover new knowledge about how our planet's dynamic systems work and interact with one another. But before any scientific investigation can begin, the raw data itself must be received, stored, processed and made available.

It's a process that often occurs behind the scenes but ultimately enables all the NASA-related studies of Earth and its climate. EOSDIS manages this flow of information - from satellites in space to data processing facilities to a scientist's desktop - with a network of 12 Earth science data centers in the U.S.

...The wide-ranging effort essentially takes a long-term measure of the scope of Earth's land, atmosphere and ocean systems. While EOS is only about 15 years old, these data records will become more valuable as they capture a longer period of time and more natural and man-made variability in the various Earth systems….

Artist's concept of NASA's Aqua satellite launched May 4, 2002

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