Developing a Data Pipeline and PDS-Compliant Archive in Response to the Discovery Announcement of Opportunity (AO)

This document is meant to assist a proposer of a Discovery mission in sizing and costing the development of a science data system and the data archive. The major effort in developing this aspect of a proposal will involve considering the end-to-end processing of the mission data that Includes

Discovery missions will be required to create PDS4-compliant archives. This document provides a listing of factors to be included in estimating the cost of creating an archive, a listing of contacts within PDS for technical advice while preparing a proposal, reference to a proposer's archiving guide and a brief explanation of PDS4 data structure.

Costing the Data Preparation, Validation and Archiving

The costs that will be incurred for preparation, validation and archiving of PDS4-compliant data will depend on several factors, including the complexity of the mission and the heritage of science operations and instruments. The following check list (Table 1) summarizes major factors to consider in developing and estimating the cost of creating a data archive for the Planetary Data System (PDS). These elements should be described in a Data Management and Archive Plan as part of a Discovery Proposal.

Table 1. Check List for Developing and Costing of a Data System

Check List for Developing and Costing of a Data System

Science Operations Center (SOC)


1. Distribution of data to and receipt of products from instrument teams


2. An Archiving Working Group


3. Document Development (mission data management plan, etc.)


Individual Instrument Teams


1. Definition of raw and processed data products


2. Estimation of needed calibration activities


3. Estimation the data volume and complexity


4. Pipeline development


5. Use of PDS4 validation software


6. Scientific validation by team members using the data to be archived


7. Development of archival documentation


Interaction with the PDS


1. Development and review of data plan and documentation


2. Review of the design of pipeline products


3. Establishment of a delivery schedule


4. Peer review


5. Lien resolution




1. Estimation of adequate staffing for the SOC


2. Estimation of required staffing for science teams to complete data development and archiving activities


Contacting the Appropriate PDS Personnel

Each team is responsible for presenting a well-defined archive plan and accompanying budget. If needed, PDS staff members are available to provide technical advice.

Table 2. PDS Personnel Who Can Provide Technical Advice

PDS Node *

Personnel to contact


Ray Arvidson,, 314-935-5609
Ed Guinness,, 314-935-5493

Cartography and Imaging Sciences

Lisa Gaddis,, 928-556-7053
Sue Lavoie,, 818-354-5677

Navigation and Ancillary Information Facility (NAIF)

Chuck Acton,, 818-354-3869


Reta Beebe,, 575-646-1938
Lyle Huber,, 575-646-1862
Lynn Neakrase,, 575-646-1862

Planetary Plasma Interactions

Ray Walker,, 310-825-7685
Steve Joy,, 310-622-3462

Ring-Moon Systems

Mark Showalter,, 650-810-0234
Mitch Gordon,, 276-393-8822

Small Bodies

Ludmilla Kolokolova,, 301-405-1539
Gerbs Bauer,, 301-405-6218

PDS Program Manager

Tom Morgan,, 301-286-1743

If you are selected for a Phase A study

During the Phase A period you should interact with the appropriate PDS node to refine your archiving plans and define a delivery schedule to allow a valid assessment of this component of your mission.

Basic Steps for Planning and Preparing a Dataset are:

The PDS4 System

The PDS has developed the PDS4 system to streamline the ingestion and distribution of archived data and to take advantage of the structured data capabilities and off-the-shelf software that is available with the Extensible Markup Language (XML). A useful resource, the Mission Proposer's Archiving Guide (MPAG), is available at

Contents of a PDS4 Data Bundle

Data in PDS4 are organized into a hierarchical structure of bundles, collections, and basic products. Bundles contain logical groupings of related collections and collections contain logical groupings of related basic products (See Figure 1.) Collections may include: context information (target, spacecraft, instrument, etc.), documentation for usage of the data, science data (raw, calibrated, derived), calibration information, and linkages to XML schema and schematron (blueprints and sets of rules) used in the generation of the label files. Development and construction of the labels is the key to constructing the mission bundles.

An example bundle (with labels) can be found at If you have questions, seek help from your PDS contact (See Table 2.)


Figure 1. Structure of a PDS4 Data Bundle