NASA Ames CIO Outlines Online Strategy, Microsoft Deal

In a blog post, NASA Ames’ CIO Chris C. Kemp has provided a bit more information about the center’s strategy to make the space agency’s vast stores of data available to the public. That effort took a major step forward this week with the announcement of a deal with Microsoft to place all of its planetary data online.

A little over 2 years ago, in my previous role as strategic business development lead here at NASA Ames, I negotiated the NASA Google collaboration. At the time, I aspired it to be the first in a series of Space Act Agreements NASA would sign with companies that share my vision to make NASA’s data – and America’s investment in space exploration – more accessible to the world on the Internet. Having since moved on to become the NASA Ames Chief Information Officer, today’s announcement of our collaboration with Microsoft – which we worked on for over 18 months – signifies another exciting step in this direction.

Moving towards a web of data

Working with partners such as Microsoft, Google, and Cisco to share our data with the world is part of a larger strategy that ties in with the next evolutionary phase of the web as we move from a web of linked documents to a web of linked data. These last few weeks I have been excited to read about our new Federal CIO Vivek Kundra and his plans to establish Data.gov to provide the public with access to all federal information that is not private or restricted for national security reasons. As I said two years ago, NASA has gathered more data about the solar system than any other agency in the world, and I look forward to working with Vivek and our team at NASA to increase the public accessibility of this data.

Developing a new space data architecture

Our agreement with Microsoft is unique in the sense that we will host the NASA data here at NASA Ames (over 100 terabytes) and serve it on the web through the WorldWide Telescope (WWT) platform. In a sense, we are using the context rich environment of WWT through our partnership with Microsoft to provide our audience a window into the universe of data we have gathered and continue to gather with our satellites and telescopes.
This data will be hosted on a new cloud platform built on open source technology that was specifically designed to host vast quantities of scientific data. The platform will enable scientists to build applications on a common, secure framework. Several new pilot projects built on this platform will be coming out in the weeks and months ahead, so stay tuned…

Stay tuned, indeed. This is pretty exciting stuff. Can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Read Kemp’s full blog post.