NASA GES DISC Efforts for Preserving Nimbus Atmospheric and Meteorological Data Sets

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 3:10 PM
James E Johnson1, Asghar E Esfandiari1, Emily B Zamkoff2, Irina V Gerasimov1, Atheer F Al-Jazrawi3 and Gary T Alcott4, (1)ADNET Systems Inc. Greenbelt, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (2)Wyle Information Systems, Inc., Lanham, MD, United States, (3)Telophase Corporation, Arlington, VA, United States, (4)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
The NASA Goddard Earth Science Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC) has been active for the past several years in preserving data and documentation from the heritage Nimbus data sets. There were seven NASA Nimbus satellites launched from 1964 through 1978 providing some of the earliest measurements of atmospheric and meteorological data. In this presentation we describe the process, implementation and issues encountered while preserving these important heritage data sets for use by future researchers.

The first data set that was recovered was the Nimbus-2 High-Resolution Infrared Radiometer (HRIR). These data were processed on archaic IBM 7094 computers, which used 36-bit encoded bytes, and were copied and stored on 7-track magnetic tapes at NASA's National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC). NSSDC transferred custody of these tapes to the Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) Project who enlisted the GES DISC to recover the data. Since NASA no longer has machines for reading these old tapes, an outside contractor was used to retrieve the binary information. Digital images of the tapes were sent back to the GES DISC where we then extracted the data files and metadata. The old HRIR data were also processed and saved as images on 70 mm film strips which we had scanned as JPEG-2000 files. Old documentation describing the HRIR mission were located, and hardcopies were scanned and saved as PDF files.

Since successfully preserving the Nimbus-2 HRIR, we have also completed the preservation of data from the rest of HRIR on Nimbus-1 and 3, as well as MRIR on Nimbus-2 and 3, THIR on Nimbus-4 through 7, and Nimbus-6 HIRS and SCAMS. Each of these data sets had its own unique file format and set of challenges. Up next we will recover data from the SIRS, SCR, ESMR, ITPR, NEMS, ERB, SAM2, SAMS, and SMMR missions. Nimbus data previously archived from an earlier NSSDC transfer to the GES DISC include TOMS, BUV and SBUV, LIMS and IRIS. In the future, we also have plans to preserve data from the even earlier TIROS missions.