6th Planetary Data Workshop
The volume of data available to planetary scientists is increasing rapidly, and the NASA Planetary Data System (PDS) is approaching two petabytes of data from space missions. These data are widely used by scientists worldwide for research, mission planning, education, and outreach. Methods of identifying, acquiring, storing, and serving these data are advancing alongside improvements in analysis methods, data synthesis, and visualization tools. There is a strong need for communication between data providers, scientists, engineers, tools developers, and users on how best to obtain just the right data and how to work with them using the best possible tools.
Nearly 150 participants (~100 in-person and ~50 virtual) from institutions worldwide discussed such topics recently at the 6th Planetary Data Workshop (PDW6), held June 26–28, 2023, in Flagstaff, Arizona. The goal of this series of workshops is to bring together planetary scientists, data providers from current and recent planetary exploration missions, data archivists, and software experts to exchange ideas on current capabilities and needs for tools for planetary research and data analysis. The 2023 workshop included keynote presentations by Steve Crawford (Science Mission Directorate of NASA), Emily Foshee (University of Alabama in Huntsville), Alessandro Frigeri (National Institute for Astrophysics/IAPS, Rome), and Ross Beyer (NASA Ames), as well as a wide variety of presentations by data users, mission data providers and archivists, and software developers. In addition, four tutorials for Spacecraft Planet Instrument C-matrix Events (SPICE) were presented by NASA’s Navigation and Ancillary Information Facility (NAIF), and several presentations were given covering the PlanetaryPy initiative (Michael Aye), SpatioTemporal Asset Catalogs (STAC) (Jay Laura), Open-source VICAR Mars/surface software (Bob Deen), and Mars 2020 MastCam-Z tools (Sydney Larriva). Online and asynchronous discussions for the workshop were supported by the Open Planetary organization (https://www.openplanetary.org/). The workshop was facilitated by the Lunar and Planetary Institute.
PDW6 presentations included the challenge by NASA to realize Open Science, Open Software and the creation of a Planetary Data Ecosystem (PDE). Both Steve Crawford and Robin Fergason (NASA Ames) discussed goals to help realize a PDE including NASA-sponsored resources; Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reuse of digital assets (FAIR) data practices; and cloud initiatives. Other themes featured updates on PDS4, the current planetary archive standard and information model, presented by PDS representatives. Python tools and toolkits were well represented across many of the presentations including archiving tools, image readers, spectral tools, and several SPICE-based tools. Automated data analysis, data access methods, and the availability of planetary data via PDS and PDE data portals were also presented. Mission and facility representatives summarized current and new processing methods for derived analysis ready data (ARD). The International Astronomical Union’s Working Group on Cartographic Coordinates and Rotational Elements (WGCCRE) discussed standardized lunar reference frames and potential updates to the martian orientation model.
Several talks discussed ongoing efforts to define “planetary spatial data infrastructures” (PSDI) to evaluate existing spatial data and data standards and to assess spatial data storage, acquisition, discovery, and user needs of the community. Aspects of PSDI are currently present in several active NASA operations, including the USGS Astrogeology’s planetary cartography research program, the PDS, Arizona State University, and the Mapping and Planetary Spatial Infrastructure Team (MAPSIT). Lastly, there were sessions devoted to topographic processing, in situ rover topics, and machine learning, as well as updates to several planetary-specific geographic information system (GIS) applications (e.g., JMARS, MMGIS, Small Body Mapping Tool).
While the 7th Planetary Data Workshop is scheduled for June 2025 in Flagstaff, Arizona, look for potential location changes. To continue these conversations, please join the Open Planetary community where you can follow the ongoing discussion and request help for planetary data, tools, and services (https://www.openplanetary.org/).
For more information about PDW6, including links to the program and abstracts, visit https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/planetdata2023.
— Summary provided by Trent Hare, Astrogeology Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey