Cloud

NASA’s piping a bunch of earth science data to Amazon’s cloud

A view of the Earth from space showing North and South America

Updated on Nov. 12 at 5:40 PM PT after receiving addition information from NASA

Amazon’s cloud now hosts a lot more data about clouds.

NASA is making a sizable collection of its climate and earth science satellite data available through Amazon Web Services, the organization announced today. The goal is to make it easier for researchers, students, and citizen scientists to access and analyze NASA’s top-tier climate data.

“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,” said NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan in a statement.

This means you can now tap into Amazon’s cloud to access NASA data on variables like temperature, precipitation, and forest cover and analyze it with data processing tools from the NASA Earth Exchange (NEX). NASA is calling this new project OpenNEX.

NASA just uploaded more than 20 TB of data to Amazon Web Services, with plans to publish more in the future. But NASA public affairs specialist Steve Cole characterized the agreement with Amazon as an “experimental project,” telling VentureBeat that the data won’t be updated that frequently.

Amazon is hosting the data for free as part of its AWS public data sets program, though AWS users will have to pay to use Amazon’s cloud-powered services to analyze the data, according to Cole. NASA also offers free access to all this data, but only provides computational resources to NASA-funded investigators.

“AWS brings to the table the business model that allows this data to reach a much wider community beyond NASA investigators,” Cole told VentureBeat.

You can access the three NASA NEX data sets currently available on AWS here.