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Venus Express: One Year in Orbit, Symposium at the 2007 EGU General Assembly
Bob Shaw
post Jan 5 2007, 12:32 AM
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QUOTE (dvandorn @ Jan 5 2007, 12:20 AM) *
The problem isn't that ESA can't muster the equivalent -- it's that they somehow don't seem to see a need to do so.

If I were a member of the EU, I would try and get political action going.

-the other Doug


oDoug:

I agree that it's a lack of desire, will, perception, what have you - and that something ought to be done.

It's not quite so simple. As I understand it, ESA is a (primarily) European organisation but isn't part of the EU as such. It's a 'Quango' and operates at the behest of the Science Ministers in various countries, but isn't really overseen by the EU system. So, national agendas rule even more than in EU agencies - and all the Ministers try to protect their own patches.

Oh: 'Quango' = Quasi Autonomous Non Governmental Agency


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remcook
post Jan 5 2007, 04:42 PM
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A question: who does all the outreach for the MERs etc? Who actually made the software for image viewing, wrote the articles etc and how do they get payed? Of course some PIs like Squyres, Bell and Stern do a lot of work themselves, something I haven't seen much in the EU (Pillenger maybe).
Maybe in Europe it somehow isn't essential to do good PR in order to get funded.

BTW: isn't there a thread about this already? maybe we could have only the VEX discussion here...
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JonClarke
post Jan 5 2007, 09:51 PM
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I have said this before and I am going to say this again.

The constant ESA bashing that is a persistant part of this board makes me really, really angry. It is utterly unneccessary, completely pointless, and based on an arrogant assumption that what NASA does everybody else should do. Just about every discussion about an ESA mission on this board has its obligatory childish whine about about their PR than than becomes several pages of whinging. It is sickening. Even a simple announcement of a forthcomoing meeting for announce results beomes a platform for this rubbish.

ESA is a completely different organisation with a different charter, different buget, and different goals. Accept it. live with it. They are in the business of doing science, not running PR or education. if you want to get results as they come in, get on the science teams. Otherwise wait until the results are published like the rest of us and shut the hell up.

I spent nearly a year off from contributing to this board because of the crap attitude to ESA, and if this keeps on I will again. It reduces the tone of the board to a common political chat room.

Jon
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Bob Shaw
post Jan 5 2007, 10:07 PM
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QUOTE (JonClarke @ Jan 5 2007, 09:51 PM) *
I spent nearly a year off from contributing to this board because of the crap attitude to ESA, and if this keeps on I will again. It reduces the tone of the board to a common political chat room.

Jon


Jon:

I hear what you say, and can only defend such rants - for that is what they are - by observing that they are irregular, and heartfelt. Those of us who would be ESA's most fervent cheerleaders are reduced to knee-jerk criticism only because of our frustration. I realise that it can come across as a poor attitude, and I'm sorry it's put you off. But I remain even sorrier that there's so little to see from ESA!


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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Jan 5 2007, 10:25 PM
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QUOTE (JonClarke @ Jan 5 2007, 11:51 AM) *
The constant ESA bashing that is a persistant part of this board makes me really, really angry.

Jon, you make a fair point about ESA not being NASA, its having a different mission, different standards of accountability, etc., but I think comparisons are inevitable. Getting angry about them is, forgive me for saying so, a little ridiculous. On the other hand, I guess my being an American has given me a thicker skin and inured me to criticism from Across The Pond cool.gif

So, to define the parameters, and to avoid driving you away for another one-year sabbatical, I guess I'll go ahead and ask: What level, if any, criticism of ESA (or its member countries' national space agencies) is acceptable to you? None? 5%? 28.78%?
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djellison
post Jan 6 2007, 12:07 AM
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QUOTE (JonClarke @ Jan 5 2007, 09:51 PM) *
They are in the business of doing science, not running PR or education. if you want to get results as they come in, get on the science teams. Otherwise wait until the results are published like the rest of us and shut the hell up.


That is your opinion and you are entitled to it. As a payer of taxes within Europe, my opinion is somewhat different and I believe ESA is short changing the people that pay for it. Clearly I am not alone in having that opinion either. We are each entitled to our opinions.

However you are not entitled to tell others to 'shut the hell up' because their opinion differs to your own.

Doug
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JRehling
post Jan 7 2007, 07:32 PM
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QUOTE (JonClarke @ Jan 5 2007, 01:51 PM) *
ESA is a completely different organisation with a different charter, different buget, and different goals. Accept it. live with it. They are in the business of doing science, not running PR or education. if you want to get results as they come in, get on the science teams. Otherwise wait until the results are published like the rest of us and shut the hell up.


The above sentiments mirror how Canada, for example, felt about British rule in the 1770s whereas most of the other posters mirror how the eventual United States felt about British rule. The 13 colonies got their way eventually. You can change things you don't like.

It's an interesting conjecture that ESA's lack of concern for the non-nabob reflects an atttitude going back centuries regarding the titled classes. Whether it's rooted in that or not, the effect is the same, and it stinks as much now as it did in the 1770s.

This board is a pretty strong voice of the "second tier" of the solar system exploration community, with several members of the first tier. I think it's an appropriate place to express that one particular empreror has no clothes. If it managed to create enough pressure to change ESA, that would be great. If that possibility is unrealistic, it doesn't make me feel that we should meekly decline to express discontent.

It's possible to take one sour viewpoint and post it to death, crowding out serious discourse. We've seen that done. I think the discussion of how outreach can be done is not just bitter fuming by cranks.

To address my own original question, in part, here's a count of nicely processed released images. The number of raw images is another matter.

In one year, Venus Express's team has released 20 images to their website.
Mars Express has released a respectable total of about 275 in about two years.
MGS released 1843 in ten years.
Mars Odyssey has released 1194 in five years.
MRO has released 91 in less than a year.

The rates per year are about (arithmetic off the top of my head):

VEx: 20
MEx: 140

MGS: 184
MO: 240
MRO: 120

Nobody has to like the fact that it's being reported, but let's not keep it from being reported.
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nprev
post Jan 8 2007, 03:29 AM
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Doug & admins, please move this post as appropriate...thanks!


Hmm....convergent issues! cool.gif I just did a post re the Pluto mess, but the server isn't letting me post the link in compact form; here it is: http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.p...amp;#entry79657. Poor PR seems to be an overarching problem for space science.

Solution: ESA, NASA, and a whole lot of other SF activities need to undergo a significant cultural change & elevate their marketing departments to the same level that major corporations do (decision-maker/board level). These organizations simply do not realize at the gut level that marketing is essential to their survival.

Okay, that was an attempt to frame the problem in very broad strokes. Anybody have some practical implementation/solution approaches?


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ollopa
post Jan 9 2007, 02:25 PM
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This discussion is more noise than information. Can I suggest Nils Muller's astonishing extraction algorithm as a way of getting at what lies beneath? Anyone who wonders why VEX has taken so long to release product should read the Mueller paper (summary below). This young man and his colleagues have slaved for month after month to extract surface emissivity data out of the scrambled VIRTIS data. Their first "picture" (yes, one) was displayed at AGU last month. Mueller was the proudest planetary researcher I have ever met, bar none. Does he care he's not a daily POD?

ESA's non-core budget was evicerated several years ago to repay (IIRC) seven BILLION euro to industry. If that debt of honour was not repayed there would have been no ESA. P.R. was a major victim. Vote now: PODs or missions?

Individual MEX PI's such as Bibring and Neukem use their own precious time and budgets to turn up at virtually every planetary science meeting around the globe. I have found them willing to share information at a level that matches or exceeds the undoubted openness of their U.S. colleagues.

I am not associated with ESA, but I believe their public outreach staff do a very credible job in often straitened circumstances. My in-box tells me that ESA's press office has issued seven press releases in the first week of 2007 - four on Friday alone. I am aware that ESA is currently exploring novel alternative ways of structuring its public outreach with the help of member governments, but there's a limit to what you can do in-house if the-powers-that-be insist on putting research ahead of PODs.



P42A-07

Algorithm for Extraction of Surface Emissivity in the Context of VIRTIS on Venus Express

* Mueller, N (nils.mueller@dlr.de) , DLR Institute for Planetary Research, Rutherfordstr. 2, Berlin, 12489 Germany
Jorn, H (joern.helbert@dlr.de) , DLR Institute for Planetary Research, Rutherfordstr. 2, Berlin, 12489 Germany
Hashimoto, G (george@kobe-u.ac.jp) , Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kobe University, Nada-ku, Kobe, 657-8501 Japan
Marinangeli, L (luciam@irsps.unich.it) , IRSPS, Universita d Annunzio, Viale Pindaro, 42, Pescara, 65127 Italy
Piccioni, G (piccioni@rm.iasf.cnr.it) , INAF - IASF Roma, Via del Fosso del Cavaliere 100, Roma, 00133
Drossart, P (Pierre.Drossart@obspm.fr) , LESIA - Observatoire de Paris, 61 avenue de l observatoire, Paris, 75014 France

Venus nightside multispectral images aquired by VIRTIS contain information of surface emissivity at wavelengths close to 1 micron. This information is relayed by thermal emissions of the surface escaping to space through the NIR spectral 'windows' in the atmosphere. On its way through the atmosphere the thermal radiation is modified by scattering and absorption by clouds. Variations in the optical thickness of the clouds modulate the spatial distribution of upwelling radiation. Multiple reflections between surface and clouds generally wash out image contrast from surface emissivity. We present an algorithm to extract surface emissivities by separating atmospheric influences from the images inside the spectral windows at 1.02, 1.10 and 1.18 micron. The necessary processing steps detailed are: 1) Removal of scattered sunlight 2) Binning of appropriate images inside the window spectral ranges 3) Correction of limb darkening 4) Removal of contrast due to attenuation by clouds 5) Removal of contrast due to surface temperature 6) Correction for multiple cloud-surface-reflections For a first quick guess on general trends of emissivity with respect to geological circumstances this algorithm is applied with several simplifications and ad-hoc assumptions. This simple model assumes the atmosphere of Venus to be one horizontally homogenous layer with spatial variation of transmittance allowing for direct inversion of the data. For an improved estimation of surface emissivity tabulated results from previous forward modeling of radiative transfer are used for steps 2) to 6). With this approach the accuracy of a detailed modeling of the atmosphere of Venus is combined with the speed and traceability of the step-by-step inversion of radiance data using the simplified model.
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ustrax
post Jan 9 2007, 02:52 PM
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QUOTE (ollopa @ Jan 9 2007, 02:25 PM) *
This discussion is more noise than information.


I subscribe every single word. (Man! This is only your 8th post, where are you hidding?! wink.gif )


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djellison
post Jan 9 2007, 03:34 PM
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QUOTE (ollopa @ Jan 9 2007, 02:25 PM) *
This young man and his colleagues have slaved for month after month to extract surface emissivity data out of the scrambled VIRTIS data. Their first "picture" (yes, one) was displayed at AGU last month.


Not true.

Oct. 4, 2006 | 09:54 PDT | 16:54 UTC
http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00000714
Nils Muller then presenting a brief look at some science being conducted by the VIRTIS instrument onboard VEX to try to pull data out from the surface. About 95% of the data in the 990-1050 nm range comes from the surface and this reduces to no surface data in the 1250-1320 nm. BUT -- the 990-1050 range still has an input from the clouds. So, using clever maths, Muller basically stacks a few images from the 990-1050 range, and subtracts the influence of the clouds in the longer wavelengths to hopefully get a temperature map of the surface. Due to blurring by the atmosphere, the resolution of this data is only around 100 kilometres per pixel, however he was able to present some images that showed a variety of surface temperatures from around 720 to 740 Kelvin from data taken out of a mosaic of images collected on the 112 orbit. This data actually quite closely matches the altitude maps of Venus collected by the Magellan mission. So, if it matches the Magellan altitude data so well, what's the point in going to all that trouble? The simple answer -- Volcanic activity. Your average Venusian volcanic lava flow is expected to be perhaps 1000-1500 Kelvin and cover many hundreds of square kilometres, so it should be visible in these 100 kilometre resolution thermal maps. Hopefully, if there is any active volcanic activity going on down under the clouds, then this technique should be able to find it as a change of a more than 5 deg Kelvin in his thermal maps.

I wrote the words, I saw the pictures.

Turning up at a planetary science meeting and a cohesive broad education and outreach program are not the same thing. I don't blame the scientists per se - but the public awareness of planetary exploration by ESA is a disgrace. Fact. No one can pretend it's at an acceptable level.

From the enthusiasts perspective - a few key issues that I still consider unacceptable.

HRSC's lack of map projection for all channels and refusal to release DEM's to the PSA/PDS given that some of this has been sat on hard drives at ESA for 3 years and it is generated in near real time.

Smart 1 data......six month chunks six moths in arrears I was told at IAC. To date - nothing.

Huygens data - DISR and SSP still not published onto the PSA or PDS - despite promises of '12 months' then August, then October on the PSA and PDS.

ESA's outreach and data publishing efforts are sub-par. As a tax payer in Europe I expect and deserve more.

Doug
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4th rock from th...
post Jan 9 2007, 03:36 PM
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Let me dream a little, but part of the solution to these PR problems might be with interested and knowledgeable people, that have the resources and time necessary to process raw data, for example. It's imagination, yes, because that would be almost impossible to put to practice, but if you look at Amateur Astronomy as an example, you see that some people do make a very good public outreach for science in general. I've done some public observation sessions and it's a very rewarding experience. The same can be done in writing for a mission website... even unofficial.


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ollopa
post Jan 9 2007, 04:23 PM
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[quote name='djellison' date='Jan 9 2007, 03:34 PM' post='79831']
Not true.


Sorry, Doug, but I don't understand what's not true? They *did* work for months and they *did* show just one picture at AGU. Maybe they showed the same pic or an earlier iteration at IAF, fine. My point is the effort it took to get to one POD.

As for raw data releases, that's beyond the remit of ESA's public outreach.
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djellison
post Jan 9 2007, 05:05 PM
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Outside the remit of outreach - but still a job it should be doing and isn't.

My point was that whatever picture they showed at AGU - it was not their 'first' - as they showed several in Valencia a couple of months before.

I don't doubt the emense difficulty in doing that sort of thing and the effort and time required. This stuff is hard. Other missions are also doing hard things..AND doing a good job with outreach. It's a culture issue - it's just something ESA doesn't feel the need to do but to remain accountable to the taxpayer and indeed perhaps gain support for a bigger chunk of that tax to come their way....something it should do. There are data product that the wider science community would like, the enthusiasts would do good work with, and that exist, ready to go, sat on ESA servers.....but they just don't share them. As a program that is funded by the public, I believe that is very wrong.

The means to share data and give people a sense of being involved in this adventures are more accesable, easier to deploy and indeed cheaper than ever before.....I can see no honest excuse as to why they should be avoided.

It's unarguably the hottest debated subject here - and in some respects reminds me of the manned-v-unmanned-v-politics ones of old... unresolveable as two camps of opinion seem so polarised and sure of their opinion there can be neither concession nor middle ground.

Doug
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JRehling
post Jan 9 2007, 05:38 PM
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