I’ve always been more interested in the future than in the past. – Grace Hopper
In pursuit of its mission, NASA has generated, collected and compiled a vast amount of data through the eyes of satellites, telescopes, robots, spacecraft, wind tunnels, laboratories and the cameras of astronauts that has helped us better understand Earth, other planets, and the depths of space. This data – from enormous technical and scientific datasets, to records, reports, simulations, videos, images and personal stories – is one of the Agency’s most valuable assets and must be understood and managed accordingly.
Data science is a relatively new field that is increasingly in demand as the complexity of global challenges continues to increase and the amount of data in which to draw insights from continues to grow exponentially. As we continue to lead in the management, analysis and application of data, and as one of the largest repositories of data globally and a recognized innovation leader, NASA is well positioned to encourage leadership and incentivize innovation within this emergent field.
Because of this commitment, NASA is convening the founding class of Datanauts, a user community that will feature leaders from across the data/maker/tech communities with diverse skill sets who use data in innovative ways. This corps of creative thinkers are interested in engaging with NASA and pioneering the future of space-inspired data science.
For this founding class, being a Datanaut will mean exploring and answering a variety of questions around data, data trends and data tools. Datanauts will share experiences, identifying high value datasets and applications of data that enrich the larger community. For future classes, we look forward to data engagement, trend insights, storytelling, and event involvement – in a supportive, inclusive environment. We eagerly anticipate inviting data scientists everywhere to apply to join the next class and pioneer the future of this space together in late 2015.
In keeping with NASA’s focus on Women in Data this year, the first class of #NASADatanauts will be women. We have exceptional makers, engineers and scientists coming together from all over the country alongside programmers, founders of startups, artists and communicators. Some have a number of degrees, some are self taught, all are highly curious learners with a wide variety of roles in the data science world. The founding class are profiled on a new Datanaut page. We’ll be honored to highlight some of their work with NASA data in the coming months.