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Venus Express: One Year in Orbit, Symposium at the 2007 EGU General Assembly
ustrax
post Jan 9 2007, 05:49 PM
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QUOTE (JRehling @ Jan 9 2007, 05:38 PM) *
But this is entirely beside the point of what we're complaining about. No one is saying that we should whip the scientists to do hard work faster. There is other data more easily presented ("low hanging fruit") which is shown by the images they have released already. It's the stinginess with regard to the raw data or that which requires modest processing that is the heart of the complaint. Venus has fascinating cloud structures which show off a lot of detail in IR and UV and don't require massive amounts of work to process to create an impressive release.


I'll remind some words I got from Monica Talevi (ESA's Science Information Manager) 6 months ago:

"....In fact, much differently from NASA, ESA - by its constitution - doesn't fund the payload (scientific instruments) of its spacecraft, which are on the contrary funded by European Scientific institutes or National Space Agencies. The payload scientists have priority right to use the scientific data for a few months
from their reception; only after this time ESA can claim back its full property of the data.

Clearly, precise agreements are in place bewteen ESA and the payload scientists as far as the use of PR images are concerned, but any delivery of public outreach material must pass through a process that takes some time, because the parties involved are several."


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djellison
post Jan 9 2007, 07:21 PM
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QUOTE (ustrax @ Jan 9 2007, 05:49 PM) *
The payload scientists have priority right to use the scientific data for a few months


A few months = two years for Huygens SSP?
Smart 1's EXTENDED mission began in the middle of 2005.

Sorry - they're not even sticking to their own word.

If the agreements between ESA and the instruments dictate that the current turnaround of data release and regularity of outreach efforts is acceptable - then the agreements are flawed and future agreements should be different and specify more verbose details on what should be done, by when. The argument that ESA is underperforming because it is a complex, distributed organisation is nothing more than a poor excuse.

Doug
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slinted
post Jan 14 2007, 07:59 AM
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I know there's no way of knowing how this would turn out without doing it, but it might be a decent mental exercise anyway...imagine this as a polling question for the general public:

There are active spacecraft in orbit about which of these planets:

A) Venus
B) Mars
C) Saturn
D) Jupiter

I think (but hope I'm wrong) that there would be as many people incorrectly answering Jupiter as there would be people knowingly answering Venus.
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J.J.
post Jan 14 2007, 07:58 PM
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I agree with others who say that the differences between ESA and NASA come down to two different academic cultures. Americans like to know where their money is going, and like to be dazzled--and indeed, many of our space projects over the last 30 years have leaned toward those end, along with the requisite data mining and number-crunching. I'm sure that if, say, HST had been launched with no capacity for images--e.g., with only spectrographs and photometers--that it would have been round-filed over the Pacific a long time ago. I can't say too much about ESA without more experience, but from what I've seen so far, the clearest explanation I can muster for the differences is the aforementioned cultural one.

Needless to say, this is one *major* reason why I want to see our Kepler, SIM, and TPF go up, even though ESA has versions of its own on the books. I know that ESA won't keep the lid on a major exoplanet discovery--but I also know that they'll be less forthcoming about all such data whether it relates to exoplanets or not.

To be fair, I thoroughly applaud the accomplishments of ESA over the past two decades--Giotto, Huygens, MEx etc. are magnificent achievements that I feel everyone can be proud of--but I also feel, as apparently do many others on this board, that more publicity stunts on ESA's part would definitely be a good thing.


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tedstryk
post Jan 14 2007, 09:05 PM
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QUOTE (J.J. @ Jan 14 2007, 07:58 PM) *
To be fair, I thoroughly applaud the accomplishments of ESA over the past two decades--Giotto, Huygens, MEx etc. are magnificent achievements that I feel everyone can be proud of--but I also feel, as apparently do many others on this board, that more publicity stunts on ESA's part would definitely be a good thing.


Well, with Giotto and MEx there have been issues with slow and awkward releases, but Venus Express really takes the cake. I mean, I hope it is accomplishing great things, but at this point it is more an idea rooted in faith than in known results. What I do wonder about, and what bothers me greatly, is that certain instrument teams, such as the VMC team, have sites that look like they were designed to display a lot of results, but haven't been used. It makes me wonder if some sort of an embargo is coming from "on high."

I think another issue for ESA is that, unlike NASA, it deals with a lot of national space agencies and labs that often recieve part or all of their funding from their respective countries, not ESA.


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edstrick
post Jan 15 2007, 11:29 AM
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"have sites that look like they were designed to display a lot of results,"

You see that on a lot of US sites. The MRO Sharad site hadn't been updated for ages, at least till the AGU Meeting results were posted. It may have been updated by now. . . but I wonder "why bother".
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remcook
post Jan 15 2007, 03:01 PM
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QUOTE
Well, with Giotto and MEx there have been issues with slow and awkward releases, but Venus Express really takes the cake. I mean, I hope it is accomplishing great things, but at this point it is more an idea rooted in faith than in known results. What I do wonder about, and what bothers me greatly, is that certain instrument teams, such as the VMC team, have sites that look like they were designed to display a lot of results, but haven't been used. It makes me wonder if some sort of an embargo is coming from "on high."

I think another issue for ESA is that, unlike NASA, it deals with a lot of national space agencies and labs that often recieve part or all of their funding from their respective countries, not ESA.


To be honest, it may also be that the results are just coming in slower. Look at the 'first results' papers: they haven't been published yet. If you compare that to Cassini, who had them published within a year, with many articles coming after that. So it may be that the data is more difficiult to analyse and hence doesn't give many new discoveries. Also, Venus is relatively well known and doesn't have any moons, so the rate of new discoveries that will reach the press will always be lower. Not saying they couldn't have done more on outreach though...

And yes, I don't think many scientists are payed by ESA. For american papers you often see in the acknowledgements: NASA grant so-and-so. For Europeans it's mostly a national research council. Still payed by taxpayers of course.
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dvandorn
post Jan 15 2007, 04:07 PM
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I'm unsure whether this observation should go here, or in the policy forum, or what -- but here goes.

In America, science and research operate in a "publish or perish" mode. Every scientific investigation (except for those undertaken by the defense and intelligence agencies) is *designed* into a process that results in articles and papers which document the investigation and its results. It's nearly impossible to get funding for anything here in the U.S. that doesn't lead to published results -- if you spend grant money and don't publish results, you don't get any more grant money.

Now, while there is similar pressure to publish in Europe, I imagine, there is (from what I have observed) somewhat less pressure to do so. As long as you don't need more money, a European scientist can take as long as he/she wishes to play with his/her data and publish results. There is less pressure to get your results analyzed and published than in the U.S., since in the U.S. that next grant is always riding on whether or not you got the results of your last grant's investigation published.

I don't know why there seems to be less publishing-pressure in Europe than in the U.S. -- perhaps it's a manifestation of the same phenomenon that saw the French CEO of a primarily American consulting firm come to its Chicago offices and complain about American productivity, announcing cuts in holidays and vacation allottments, while his European employees all received six *weeks* of vacation time annually (as a start-up benefit) as opposed to the five *days* of vacation per year that he was now imposing on his American employees of less than five years' employment. In other words, perhaps it is simply a slower, less pressing culture in Europe (but with an expectation that someone else will work their butts off for them) that reduces the publishing pressure in Europe.

Then again, you have the old Soviet system. In the Soviet planetary exploration program, while it resulted in a number of papers and some reduction of the data received, it seems that their investigators could publish if they wanted, but that there was no expectation of scientific results. The simple act of sending the probe to another planet and receiving *any* data (usually pictures) satisfied the political goals that generated the funding, and so actually reducing the data and analyzing it seemed to have been a poorly-attended-to afterthought. I mean, just how many of the tens of thousands of Lunakhod images still exist? How much of the fields-and-particles data returned by *any* Soviet planetary probe is available for further analysis? Like I said, there seemed to be no real interest in doing anything with the science returns from Soviet probes, except in some cases by a few individuals who were really interested in the results. There was no connection between funding and even *looking* at the science return, it seemed.

So, that seems to be the spectrum. And while the pressure to analyze the data and publish your findings seems to get a little more accomplished here in the U.S. than gets done (or at least released to us peons) in Europe, I will point out that, even though the data return may be lacking, the purely political motivators for the Soviet explorations got nearly as much done as the somewhat more scientifically motivated American explorations. We just didn't see as much in the way of results from it.

-the other Doug


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tedstryk
post Jan 15 2007, 04:31 PM
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QUOTE (dvandorn @ Jan 15 2007, 04:07 PM) *
Then again, you have the old Soviet system. In the Soviet planetary exploration program, while it resulted in a number of papers and some reduction of the data received, it seems that their investigators could publish if they wanted, but that there was no expectation of scientific results. The simple act of sending the probe to another planet and receiving *any* data (usually pictures) satisfied the political goals that generated the funding, and so actually reducing the data and analyzing it seemed to have been a poorly-attended-to afterthought. I mean, just how many of the tens of thousands of Lunakhod images still exist? How much of the fields-and-particles data returned by *any* Soviet planetary probe is available for further analysis? Like I said, there seemed to be no real interest in doing anything with the science returns from Soviet probes, except in some cases by a few individuals who were really interested in the results. There was no connection between funding and even *looking* at the science return, it seemed.


-the other Doug


A lot of it, actually. Some is at the NSSDC. IKI has archives of a lot of it. And there are literally thousands of scientific papers written based on the results of Soviet probes. Since they are often in Russian journals, some of which are available in English and some of which are not, theyare hard to dig up. And the whole Soviet program, from the government's point of view was a propaganda tool (the same could be said, to some degree, of the early American program.


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Bob Shaw
post Jan 15 2007, 09:35 PM
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QUOTE (J.J. @ Jan 14 2007, 07:58 PM) *
To be fair, I thoroughly applaud the accomplishments of ESA over the past two decades--Giotto, Huygens, MEx etc. are magnificent achievements that I feel everyone can be proud of--but I also feel, as apparently do many others on this board, that more publicity stunts on ESA's part would definitely be a good thing.


I don't especially want stunts - but I *would* like to see some content. Doug's comments above seem perfectly reasonable to me - I really don't want the gee-whiz-prettified-to-death-and-beyond images, I want the meat... ...and I'd like it on the table before it decides to evolve into something else and fly away.


Bob Shaw


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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Jan 30 2007, 12:57 AM
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The abstracts for this session are now online. Check out the link in this thread.
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ustrax
post Feb 14 2007, 12:34 PM
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Does anyone need a job?... smile.gif

A lot more here.


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