The probes sent by NASA generate a lot of data for scientists to study, but how available is it to non-NASA affiliated scientists?

For instance, would I (a layperson) be able to get the raw data collected by the Mars rovers?

  • $\begingroup$ This question is also of interest to the folks at Open Data. $\endgroup$ – gerrit Nov 13 '13 at 9:35

According to the NASA webpage Open Government Initiative, there are several repositories of raw data from NASA missions. These are sorted by categories, however, as this site is a bit dated, the links are sometimes broken - but is included to give you an idea what is actually there.

The official US government website Data.gov also has over 3000 data sets from NASA alone.

As a specific example, about the Mars rovers, an example of the data available is from NASA's PDS: The Planetary Atmospheres Data Node (Scroll down the page and you'll see the Mars rover data for this context.

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    $\begingroup$ For rover stuff you definitely want the geosciences node, not just the atmospheres node. E.g. MER and MSL. $\endgroup$ – Mark Adler Nov 12 '13 at 20:10

All NASA data is to be released to the public within 1 year of it's collection, and is released to the Planetary Data System. The 1 year is to give the scientists a chance to publish on the research they have worked long and hard to colelct.

  • $\begingroup$ It varies from project to project. For the NASA Mars Exploration Program missions, it's six months. In addition, all MER and MSL images are released to the public nearly in real time in an uncalibrated, compressed form. $\endgroup$ – Mark Adler Nov 13 '13 at 4:26
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkAdler: Some programs are better than others, but the requirement is to release the data at least once a year. $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Nov 13 '13 at 11:08
  • $\begingroup$ Now you're quoting a frequency, not a latency. Again projects are different. Most that have a latency of one year have a frequency of releases every six months. $\endgroup$ – Mark Adler Nov 14 '13 at 1:21
  • $\begingroup$ That's for probes to other planets. Data for other types of science (Earth, solar, astronomical) get archived elsewhere. $\endgroup$ – GreenMatt Apr 13 '16 at 18:33

The Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST) contains a considerable amount of raw and normalized astronomy data including that from the Hubble Space Telescope, GALEX, FUSE, and Kepler.


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