NASA teams with AWS to share space research

Photo: NASA Earth Exchange, NASA Data produced by the NASA Earth Exchange at the NASA Advanced Supercomputer Facility at the agency’s Ames Research Center shows climate change projections. (Image: NASA Earth Exchange)

NASA and Amazon Web Services are partnering up to make more of the space agency’s research and data available to research and educational users. A large collection of NASA climate and Earth science satellite data will be put in the AWS cloud, a major win for the geoscience community.

“NASA continues to support and provide open public access to research data, and this collaboration is entirely consistent with that objective,” NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan said in a statement. “Earth science research is important to every person on the planet, and we welcome contributions from all researchers in improving our understanding of Earth and its climate.”


The service includes certain NASA satellite and global change data sets such as precipitation, temperature and forest cover. It will also include data-processing tools from NASA Earth Exchange, a research platform of NASA’s Advanced Supercomputer Facility in Moffett Field, Calif.

“We are excited to grow an ecosystem of researchers and developers who can help us solve important environmental research problems,” said Rama Nemani, principal scientist for the NEX project at Ames. “Our goal is that people can easily gain access to and use a multitude of data analysis services quickly through AWS to add knowledge and open source tools for others’ benefit.”

NASA’s partnership with AWS is another example of government leveraging cloud technology to give users worldwide access to data sets and research they can use independently. This cloud allows research and application users to gain access to an integrated Earth science computational and data management system, according to the release.

“By bringing these NASA public data assets into the AWS cloud, we help NASA engage a larger community for global change impact modeling and analysis as well as data sciences innovation in general,” said Jamie Kinney, AWS senior manager for scientific computing. “Together, NASA and AWS are delivering faster time to science and taking the complexity out of accessing this important climate data.”

So far, NASA has uploaded terabytes of data from three satellite and computer modeling data sets to the AWS platform and expects to upload more in the future. One of the data sets provides high-resolution climate change projects for 48 of 50 states, another offers a global view of Earth’s surface every one to two days. The U.S. Geological survey’s Landsat data record provides the longest existing continuous space-based record of Earth’s land, according to the release.


This latest move by NASA is an effort to continue keeping up with the administration’s open data executive order, and the agency hopes the availability of this data will encourage entrepreneurship, innovation and further scientific research.

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