GOAL: Create an interface that allows a users to visualize data on the history and future of global small satellite missions DATA SOURCES: Nanosatellites Database by Erik. (2016). Nanosatellite Database [Data file]. Retrieved 20 April, 2016 from http://www.nanosats.eu/. Data Hub. (2012). Countries Continents [Data file]. Retreived 13 May, 2016 from https://datahub.io/dataset/countries-continents/resource/aa08c34c-57e8-4e15-bd36-969bee26aba5 BACKGROUND: CubeSats and other small classes of satellite [1] are opening up new opportunities for space-based research. Tiny, relatively simple to build, and economical to launch, it’s not hard to see why these platforms are so appealing to people with an interest in astronomy, astrophysics, and meteorology just to name a few disciplines. Educational small satellites can even be flown for free on rockets planned for upcoming launches through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative [2], making them one of the most accessible ways to prototype experimental instrumentation and study the cosmos. Unfortunately though, most small satellite data remains on private hard drives or in non-standard formats, maintained by groups that do not have the time or resources to publish and disseminate that data as there are no designated public repositories or standards to serve this function. This means that a wealth of data, which could be the foundation for new innovations and discoveries, is basically inaccessible. Worsening this problem, private companies are flying small sats with the intention of putting that data into proprietary formats and selling it back to researchers at a profit; these companies currently have little competition from the public or non-profit sector. To address these issues, myself and a multidisciplinary team at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics is working to create an open source, ready-to-use, small satellite data system that will allow researchers to reduce time spent on developing ad hoc systems and invest more time in the mission and instrumentation. We’re calling it The Space Library [3]. With an open solution like the one my team is proposing, educators and the public will gain access to live space data that will be ripe for current and future citizen science projects. Researchers in astronomy and astrophysics will also be more capable of building on the experimental work that small satellites enable. On my website [4] I have hosted a few interactive data visualizations to help my team make the case for the importance of funding The Space Library. VISUALIZATIONS: I built the visualizations on my website using R (packages: dplyr, plyr, RColorBrewer) and the R API for Plotly [5], a browser-based charting library built on plotly.js. The code I used to clean the nanosatellites database data is available on GitHub here [6] along with the code I used to create the plots themselves [7]. To generate the embed codes used on this site I pushed resulting plots to my personal account on Plotly [8]. I wanted to illustrate the increasingly global impact of small satellites without creating misleading graphics that hid the drastic skew toward North America and the United States in particular; to do this I created plots that an end-user can interact with. A person can adjust the scale, zoom, subset, pan and more using the toolbar at the top of each plot, which is made visible by hovering the cursor over that area. A person can also click on the legends to deselect and select data as well as using the plots selection features to alter the presentation. I did not include in these plots any launches that did not have specified dates (TBD) or for which the launches were cancelled.
THE GOAL: Create an interface that allows a users to visualize data on the history and future of global small satellite missions BACKGROUND: CubeSats are small platforms that have a relatively low barrier for space-based research that can be flown on rockets planned for upcoming launches through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative [1]. Unfortunately, most small satellite data remains on private hard drives or in non-standard formats, maintained by groups that do not have the time or resources to publish and disseminate that data. I am currently part of a research team working to create an open source, ready-to-use, small satellite data system that will allow researchers to reduce time spent on developing ad hoc systems and invest more time in the mission and instrumentation. We’re calling it The Space Library [2]. With an open solution like the one my team is proposing, educators and the public will gain access to live space data that will be ripe for current and future citizen science projects. Researchers in astronomy and astrophysics will also be more capable of building on the experimental work that small satellites enable. The data visualization I’m proposing to create will help us make the case for the importance of our Space Library project and the significance of CubeSat programs around the world to the future of space-based science. DESCRIPTION: Gathering comprehensive data on CubeSats has historically been challenging. Many CubeSats are built by students or not tracked in a public capacity. There are though a few valiant efforts to gather this information: - St. Louis University’s CubeSat Database [3]   - The Nanosatellite Database [4] I plan to pull data from the Nanosatellite Database (it contains the more complete set of records) to create both improved and novel charts illustrating the importance of opening up small satellite data to the world with a project like The Space Library. Some of my ideas for visualizations include: - Create charts exploring the types of organizations launching small satellites - privately launched or military funded sats may not have any designated structures or archives for sharing their data. Our project would help give that data a place and make it findable (even government-funded sat data from NASA projects are very difficult to find).   - Create more visually pleasing charts showing past and future launches small satellite missions to show the increasing importance of making CubeSat data accessible to society. I am going to use R and the R plotly package [5] in particular to create these visualizations. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ [1] http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cubesats/overview [2] http://thespacelibrary.org/ [3] https://sites.google.com/a/slu.edu/swartwout/home/cubesat-database [4] http://www.nanosats.eu/ [5] https://plot.ly/r/
THE GOAL: Create an interface that allows users to easily compare the average number of authors per paper among publications written on a variety of topics by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. DESCRIPTION: I will create a simple interface to allow a user to enter (as raw input) three strings that will be used to populate an API query to the NASA Astrophysical Data System [1] using “A Python Module To Interact With NASA’s ADS That Doesn’t Suck” [2]. The resulting query will search the ADS for papers affiliated with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) bibliography that contain the raw input either as keywords or within the title of the paper. The results of the queries will be limited to publications authored by researchers at the CfA as I am interested in examining the publishing behaviors of researchers in my own community at the Center and to allow for simple prototyping of a tool that could be scaled up to include larger search results later. The results will also be limited to the Python module’s default call to the ADS API (three pages) to prevent deep pagination and maxing out my daily API limit while testing the scripts. The results will subsequently be displayed as simple box and violin plots to show the different authorship behavior of researchers in different topics. Modules to be used (*It is possible I won’t use all modules on this list): - import os   - import Tkinter*   - import tkFileDialog*   - import ads   - import numpy as np   - import scipy   - import pandas as pd* I created A SIMPLE PROTOTYPE of the proposed Python analysis using R which can be seen here [3] on RPubs. https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/ [2] http://https://github.com/andycasey/ads [3] http://rpubs.com/dbouquin/ProjectTest