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Chapter 2:
Satellite Data Generation and Product Levels
Human beings use satellite measurement systems to gather scientific information to understand Earth, especially its climate, weather, and natural hazards components. Sustained observations allow scientists to monitor Earth’s climate variables over time to determine trends. However, launching satellites alone is not sufficient. A comprehensive data and information system, a community of scientists performing research with the data acquired, and extensive ground campaigns are all important components. More than any other factor, the commitment to make Earth science data easily available and usable to the research community is critical to mission success. To meet this commitment, the Earth Observing System (EOS) Data and Information System has been operating since August 1994 at eight distributed active archive centers (DAACs) run by NASA. The Planetary Data System (PDS) has been recently set up for planetary science missions to provide high-quality, usable, planetary-science data products to the scientific community, such as standard products, engineering and other ancillary products, and documentation that accompanies datasets as they are delivered to the PDS. This system evolved in response to scientific community requests for improved availability of planetary science data. The PDS provides access to data archives at different data product levels for scientists, educators, and the public.
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