Challenges and Successes Managing Airborne Science Data for CARVE

Monday, 15 December 2014
Sean H Hardman, Steven J Dinardo and Eric C Lee, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
The Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE) mission collects detailed measurements of important greenhouse gases on local to regional scales in the Alaskan Arctic and demonstrates new remote sensing and improved modeling capabilities to quantify Arctic carbon fluxes and carbon cycle-climate processes.

Airborne missions offer a number of challenges when it comes to collecting and processing the science data and CARVE is no different. The biggest challenge relates to the flexibility of the instrument payload. Within the life of the mission, instruments may be removed from or added to the payload, or even reconfigured on a yearly, monthly or daily basis. Although modification of the instrument payload provides a distinct advantage for airborne missions compared to spaceborne missions, it does tend to wreak havoc on the underlying data system when introducing changes to existing data inputs or new data inputs that require modifications to the pipeline for processing the data. In addition to payload flexibility, it is not uncommon to find unsupported files in the field data submission. In the case of CARVE, these include video files, photographs taken during the flight and screen shots from terminal displays. These need to captured, saved and somehow integrated into the data system.

The CARVE data system was built on a multi-mission data system infrastructure for airborne instruments called the Airborne Cloud Computing Environment (ACCE). ACCE encompasses the end-to-end lifecycle covering planning, provisioning of data system capabilities, and support for scientific analysis in order to improve the quality, cost effectiveness, and capabilities to enable new scientific discovery and research in earth observation. This well-tested and proven infrastructure allows the CARVE data system to be easily adapted in order to handle the challenges posed by the CARVE mission and to successfully process, manage and distribute the mission’s science data.

This research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration