NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Space Physics Cosmic & Heliospheric

Data Evaluation Panel Report


The Cosmic and Heliospheric (C&H) Data Evaluation Panel (DEP) was charged with the task of identifying and prioritizing important C&H data sets. It was requested to provide C&H community input to the Space Physics Division (SPD) for a program of revitalizing data holdings. As detailed below, the panel has identified substantial areas of concern and generally assigned highest C&H priority to Voyager, Pioneer, Helios, IMP-8 and ISEE-3 data in that order.

The following set of recommendations should be viewed as only partial. To date, the panel has found a wide range of data of long-term archival value but will not claim to have been able to conduct a "comprehensive" review. It is our conclusion that significantly more community-held data should be restored and subsequently preserved, although there is clearly an inconsistency between this need and the NASA funding available for this purpose at this time.

We expect an ongoing effort over the next few years to update, extend and complete this analysis under the auspices of the Space Physics Data System (SPDS) C&H Discipline Coordination Team (DCT). The evaluation work should eventually encompass a very broad range of C&H data sources (Shuttle, balloon, ground, historical flight missions) as well as relevant models and software.

Recommendations of the C&H DEP to date are:

  1. The most important C&H missions are Voyagers 1 and 2, Pioneers 10 and 11, Helios 1 and 2, IMP-8 and ISEE-3 (ICE). Preservation of data from these missions is the highest archival priority in the C&H discipline. Data from older missions and other data sources have the potential for substantial value but are generally of lesser priority than data from these primary missions.

  2. Restoration and/or archiving activities for Voyagers 1 and 2 and for Pioneer 10 and 11 are important but should possibly be project-funded at this time.

  3. Several specific Helios-related recommendations are:

    • Funding to the University of Iowa to assure archive of an appropriate subset of Helios 1 and 2 plasma wave data, coordinated with archiving of other priority magnetospheric plasma wave data, should be a high priority data restoration effort.

    • The panel strongly advocates the generation and acquisition of reduced Helios plasma and field data from the primary magneto-optical disks that have been created by the non-NASA PI.

    • NSSDC should complete validation and archiving of the high-resolution NASA fluxgate magnetometer data that have been now submitted.

    • Data beyond what is already archived from other Helios instruments (e.g. the cosmic ray instruments) should be a high priority for archival acquisition.

  4. Archival submission of all key IMP-8 data and select IMP-7 data is critically important. Although IMP-8 is operating and currently funded for operations / data reduction, it is so minimally funded that it should be considered as effectively unfunded by the project for further data archiving (in the same way data activities for Helios 1/2 and ISEE-3 must be viewed).

  5. Other satellite, balloon and ground-based data, such as the ONR-604 cosmic ray isotope experiment on DoD's CRRES satellite and the Chicago/Bartol LEE series of balloon experiments for galactic electrons, area of significant value for C&H studies. Provisions for timely and complete archiving should be considered. Data from other data sources (older missions, neutron monitors, cross-sections) should be considered where an appropriate proposal justifying the specific value of restoration can be produced.

  6. It is an urgent requirement that current missions such as SAMPEX and Ulysses and new missions such as Wind and ACE assign appropriate priority to planning for effective and timely data archiving.

  7. As the C&H field has unique needs for long-term access to telemetry-resolution (highest time and/or raw pulse height) data for some classes of data, the panel advocates feasibility studies and testbed activities to define cost/benefit-effective archiving approaches for such data.

NASA Logo -