Saturday, January 17, 2015

proprietary images versus free access for the public

The European Space Agency is now trying to deal with a conundrum. The ESA's Rosetta probe is tracking Comet 67P. There are numerous images from several cameras. Fascinated people and interested parties want to see and share the images. The best images have a 6 month delay before the public can see them because the scientists have first dibs on them to determine which are scientifically important so they can use them and report them in their published research. This is very important to the scientists who developed the research which led to the probe tracking the comet. The ESA has had complaints. People want to see better and more images than the ones they are allowed to see. ESA is now in a pull between the public and scientists about image access and timeliness and if they are free or not. A different approach was taken by ESA with a spacecraft platform called Sentinel-1a- the images are given free away - nobody has first dibs.  I can see how this is part of a larger issue of public access in so many ways not just for scientific exploration or research but also that archives have concerning which images are available online and what quality and what you charge, if anything to copy or download them. Read more about it here http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30859411

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