Space Physics Cosmic & Heliospheric

Data Evaluation Panel Report


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

The following set of recommendations should be viewed as only partial. Todate, the panel has found a wide range of data of long-term archival value butwill not claim to have been able to conduct a “comprehensive” review. It isour conclusion that significantly more community-held data should be restoredand subsequently preserved, although there is clearly an inconsistency betweenthis 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 andcomplete this analysis under the auspices of the Space Physics Data System(SPDS) C&H Discipline Coordination Team (DCT). The evaluation work shouldeventually encompass a very broad range of C&H data sources (Shuttle,balloon, ground, historical flight missions) as well as relevant models andsoftware.

Recommendations of the C&H DEP to date are:

  1. The most important C&H missions are Voyagers 1 and 2, Pioneers 10 and11, Helios 1 and 2, IMP-8 and ISEE-3 (ICE). Preservation of data from thesemissions is the highest archival priority in the C&H discipline. Data fromolder missions and other data sources have the potential for substantial valuebut are generally of lesser priority than data from these primary missions.

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

  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 iscritically important. Although IMP-8 is operating and currently funded foroperations / data reduction, it is so minimally funded that it should beconsidered 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 cosmicray isotope experiment on DoD’s CRRES satellite and the Chicago/Bartol LEEseries of balloon experiments for galactic electrons, area of significant valuefor C&H studies. Provisions for timely and complete archiving should beconsidered. Data from other data sources (older missions, neutron monitors,cross-sections) should be considered where an appropriate proposal justifyingthe specific value of restoration can be produced.

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

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