Taking Passengers on Planetary Exploration Vessels: Benefits of Engaging Space Enthusiast Communities with Rapidly Released Image Data
2021-10-26, 21:00–21:30, Grand Ballroom

Most space agencies host centralized archives of deep-space science mission data that are accessible to the public via the Internet. For some missions, agencies rapidly and automatically release uncalibrated versions of image data to mission websites in widely accessible formats (e.g. JPG and PNG). This generosity with data has inspired a global community of image data processing artists, who download and process science data for fun (and, rarely, profit). While these people often have scientific interests, their image processing goals usually diverge from scientific processing: they work with the data to produce aesthetically pleasing images, illustrations, and views that answer the question: what would it look like if I were there? Supporting this community has benefits for planetary science: these enthusiasts produce beautiful images, educate the public about space exploration through their social networks (including debunking conspiracy theories), and advocate for continued public support of space exploration.


Image processing for the public and scientists