May 312011

One of the biggest challenges in our research of the Pioneer Anomaly was the recovery of old mission data. It is purely by chance that most of the mission data could be recovered; documents were saved from the dumpster, data was read from deteriorating tapes, old formats were reconstructed using fragmented information. If only there had been a dedicated effort to save all raw mission data, our job would have been much easier.

This is why I am reading it with alarm that there are currently no plans to save all the raw data from the Tevatron. This is really inexcusable. So what if the data are 20 petabytes? In this day and age, even that is not excessive… a petabyte is just over 300 3 TB hard drives, which are the highest capacity drives currently no the market. If I can afford to have more than 0.03 petabytes of storage here in my home office, surely the US Government can find a way to fund the purchase and maintenance of a data storage facility with a few thousand hard drives, in order to preserve knowledge that American taxpayers payed many millions of dollars to build in the first place.

 Posted by at 3:37 pm