The archiving of collected data from space missions is a vital activity. It is important that data should be publicly accessible for scientific study. It is also vital that data from space missions which are generally not repeatable are securely stored for future generations to exploit. Open access to data is essential for scientific progress to flourish and for technical advancements to be made. In addition it can also have an impact on issues such as economic growth and public safety. Imperial College is actively involved with archiving data from several missions:
Each of the four Cluster spacecraft carry a dual sensor fluxgate magnetometer instrument and archive activities involve calibrating, processing and validating data from each of the primary sensors. These data are then submitted for ingestion into the Cluster Active Archive. Data submitted to the Cluster Active Archive are of publishable quality and a very sophisticated set of calibration procedures have been developed in order for this to be possible.
Cassini archiving activities
The Cassini spacecraft carries two magnetometers, one dual vector/scalar helium magnetometer and one fluxgate magnetometer. The data from these instruments are processed, calibrated and organised into Planetary Data System (PDS) compliant archive directories at the College, with help from colleagues from UCLA and JPL, before being submitted to the PDS.
Rosetta archiving activities
The team at Imperial College help coordinate the archiving activities of the Rosetta Plasma Consortium (RPC) and represents the Consortium on archiving issues within the project. Rosetta data has to meet Planetary Science Archive (PSA) guidelines, which are closely based on those of the PDS. The team maintains a set of interactive web pages that assist in this endeavour within the Consortium. All RPC data is submitted to the College where it is given a final check to ensure PSA compliance before the team at the College submits the data to the PSA.
Venus Express archiving activities
College has been using its archiving expertise to assist its colleagues at the Space Research Institute in Graz, Austria with their archiving endeavours. The Institute is responsible for calibrating and archiving Venus Express magnetometer data. A help pack was prepared for the Institute to help them learn about the PSA guidelines and the tools available to prepare and check PSA archives. In addition team members have checked and written archive documentation for them, advised on dataset structure and contents and assisted in dataset verification.