Date: Fri Aug 27 1993 14:15:00 Subj: Mars Observer PI #3 1/ SKEPTIC - This is the third an

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Date: Fri Aug 27 1993 14:15:00 From: Anson Kennedy Subj: Mars Observer PI #3 1/ SKEPTIC ------------------------------- This is the third and final article by Mars Observer Principle Investigator, Mike Malin. --- Anson Newsgroups: Path:!netcomsv!!olivea!!!g From: (Mike Malin) Subject: MOC PI Comments: Public Access to Images Message-ID: Sender: (USENET News System) Organization: Mars Observer TES Project, ASU, Tempe AZ Date: Sat, 21 Aug 1993 19:22:49 GMT Lines: 152 This posting is from Mike Malin, Principal Investigator of the Mars Observer Camera, in response to the net discussions that have been going on during the past two weeks. Please do not respond to the e-mail address above. My only link to the network is through this third party and I don't want them deluged with replies. I do read the net occassionally and will try to respond when time and interest permit. Topic: Public access to Mars Observer Camera images First and foremost, you can all help by getting the word out that there is NOTHING DIFFERENT about the public accessibility of the MOC data from previous missions. If anything, access will be improved. The "Face on Mars" crowd seems obsessed with some perceived differences arising from the fact that the MOC is a PI instrument. As I hope to show below, such obsession is unfounded. There are several levels at which the public will have access to the MOC data. These are 1) press releases, 2) public display, 3) NASA Select displays, and 4) Planetary Data System (PDS) release. Definition: "release" means material is in the public domain, and that the MOC team has no control over its use. "display" means the data are shown to the public for information sake, but are not yet in the public domain. 1) Press releases: The Mars Observer Project Office at JPL, the JPL Public Information Office, and NASA Headquarters are all committed to getting information about Mars Observer out to the public. Because Mars Observer operates as a distributed system (i.e., mission operations is not centralized at JPL, but rather is distributed across the country at the institutions of the experiment principal investigators), this represents a formidable challenge. Each PI is free to release whatever he wants from his experiment, whenever he wants, and from his home institution. Our agreement is to inform our colleagues across the country and at JPL of our intentions, but we are not required to seek any authorization for such releases. JPL will try to coordinate a few group releases, keyed to special events in the mission. From the MOC perspective, I hope to release many (dozens?) of images over the course of the 687 day primary mission. Limitations on these releases include: media interest, cost of reproduction, cost of time to prepare the releases, etc. While most of you (by virtue of the fact you're on the internet) have made the switch to volatile communication, much of the world, including the media, have not. Since we can't cater to one special interest group over another (e.g., computer types), we must provide our "product" in as broad a format as possible. There WILL be releases of ORIGINAL DIGITAL DATA in binary form. The MOI-28 day image was an exception, not the rule by which future releases are planned. My staff and I abhor rescanning, and do not intend for our releases to be screwed up in that way. What happened at MOI-28 is that the release was moved forward from the date we had agreed upon (NASA was eager to try to get into the Friday papers rather than Saturdays) and my co-investigation team of scientists, who are not yet in residence (since real data acquisition doesn't start until December), hadn't even seen the image yet. I wanted them to at least have some view of it before the whole world had access to it digitally, so I didn't provide JPL with a releasable digital-format image. JPL PIO simply scanned it in on its own volition. In the future, releases will be better coordinated and the digital and hardcopy versions will be released simultaneously. I should note, however, that the digital version will be EXACTLY that used to generate the hardcopy (i.e., not raw). Raw data will be released as part of our contractual obligation to archive and release ALL of the data to the public domain after validation and initial science analysis (See below, PDS release, and separate message on proprietary rights). In summary, press releases will occur as often, if not more so, than was seen during any of the previous ORBITAL missions. Viking released roughly 30-40 PR images per vehicle (2 orbiters, 2 landers) over two years, and we will easily match or exceed that rate (20/year). Voyagers had the advantage of short encounters and concentrated media attention--don't expect that kind of coverage to extend over a two year mission. 2) Public Display: I REALLY want to get the MOC data out in front of the public, so on my own initiative, but with the enthusiastic support of both the NASA Science Internet and the Mars Observer Project, I have begun negotiating to provide a "live" digital video feed from my facility to the National Air and Space Museum, to JPL's visitor's center, and to NASA Headquarters. Other facilities (Kennedy Space Center's, Johnson Space Center's, and Goddard Space Flight Center's visitor's centers, etc.) may be included. This will be an automatic rescaling of our canonical 2K X 2K pixel images to 480 X 480, with ancillary information (location, image id, etc.) displayed in NTSC format that will occur roughly in "realtime." NASA Select will probably broadcast some of these displays (see below). Images shown via this display are still proprietary, meaning we haven't validated them nor performed initial science analysis. They are not released and cannot be reproduced or recorded digitally without our permission (basically, any reproduction would constitute "release"). Video recording by media is allowed, as is such recording by the public of any broadcasts. The displays are volatile, however, and once the image is gone, it cannot be recovered. This is EXACTLY like the broadcasts of Voyager data during its outer planet encounters. I have gone to considerable trouble to provide this capability, since it isn't inherent in the distributed data system of Mars Observer. 3) NASA Select Displays: NASA Select satellite television will carry some amount of Mars Observer mission coverage, the exact amount and timing is TBD. Competition for NASA Select time is quite steep, especially during Shuttle missions, and the amount of time Mars Observer will get is probably pretty small. For example, Mars Observer begins its mapping operations around the last week in November/first week in December. Since the Space Telescope refurbishment mission is scheduled in the same time period, it is unlikely Observer will get much air time. The commitment for now (very preliminary) is for a 15 minute weekly summary throughout the two year mission, with coverage of special events (like joint press conferences which JPL will plan). HARD CHOICE FOR YOU ALL: do you want to see 24 hr coverage of shuttle missions or coverage of Mars Observer? Let NASA Headquarters know. 4) Planetary Data System (PDS) Release: The PDS is a distributed data archiving system that, working in conjunction with the National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) at Goddard Space Flight Center, provides public and professional access to space mission data. NASA has written into all Mars Observer contracts the requirement to prepare appropriate archive data products, and to transfer these products to the PDS after the proprietary rights period, which is nominally six months (see separate message re: Proprietary Rights). With recent budget cuts imposed by Administrator Goldin's demand for lower Mission Operations and Data Analysis costs (what did he THINK was going to be cut?), these archived products will be pretty raw, but thanks to modern computers, also not unreasonably inaccessible to people with a little know-how. The MOC data are not in image format in their raw form--we send the data down compressed. Nor is it standard JPEG--we developed our compression (a varient on DCT) before the standard was settled upon, and by using a larger transform block (16 X 16) and a set of 16 requantization tables we developed empirically, we actually get better images for a given Q factor. The intent of the PDS is to act as a bridge between the original investigators and other scientists and the public in gaining access to the data. The PDS nodes (USGS Flagstaff and JPL for Imaging, Washington University for other Geoscience data) are set up to provide both on-line and personal help in finding what is needed and getting it into the format that's desired. Within a year of the end of the mission, all the data will be "in the public domain." But unlike most previous missions (Magellan being the the first of the new breed), data will be released DURING the mission, so you don't have to wait the entire mission to see the very first data.


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