What Is NASA Doing With Big Data Today?

Nick Skytland | open.nasa.gov | October 4, 2012

In the time it took you to read this sentence, NASA gathered approximately 1.73 gigabytes of data from our nearly 100 currently active missions! We do this every hour, every day, every year – and the collection rate is growing exponentially. Handling, storing, and managing this data is a massive challenge. Our data is one of our most valuable assets, and its strategic importance in our research and science is huge. We are committed to making our data as accessible as possible, both for the benefit of our work and for the betterment of humankind through the innovation and creativity of the over seven billion other people on this planet who don’t work at NASA.

In version 2.0 of our Open Government Plan, we scratched the surface in terms of the work that the Agency is involved in around “big data” but there is much more to explore.

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel hosted by CBS TechLines called “Big Data Debunked — Finding the Data Signals.” I was joined by Michael Cavaretta of Ford, Katrina Montinola of Archimedes, Christine Twiford of T-Mobile, James Kobielus of IBM and ZDNet editor-in-chief Larry Dignan. We discussed the challenges and opportunities big data poses for organizations today. I was humbled by their vision and so inspired by the examples that they shared, that I wanted to share more about what NASA is doing. Because there is so much to write about and no way to fit it into one post, our tour of the big data universe at NASA will be split out into three parts.