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On average, 6-7 GB of raw data have to be stored per day in the Versantdatabase. A compressed version of this data is downlinked every 24 hours froma mass memory unit aboard the satellite to a ground station near Perth / Australia . It is then forwarded to the Herschel Mission Control Centre at theEuropean Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt (DE), transmitted to theHerschel Science Centre near Madrid (SP), and propagated from there to thenational Instrument Control Centers at Garching (Max-Planck-Institut fürExtraterrestrische Physik, DE), Groningen (Space Research Organisation of the Netherlands , NL), and Didcot (Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, GB).
To scientific end users, and to people from the interested public,appropriate servers will provide raw and processed Herschel data-images ofobjects in different infrared/ far-infrared "colors" and spectra at differentwavelengths and resolution from objects that were observed. Similar to theresults from previous and current ESA missions, this "product archive" will bebased on the more conventional technology of a relational database system withkeywords as metadata and files containing the actual products.
During its 3-4 year lifetime, Herschel will collect unique data for use bythe astronomical community. Because the Herschel instruments record radiationmostly at far-infrared and sub-millimeter wavelengths at an unprecedentedscale and sensitivity, it will be possible to detect and characterize manypreviously invisible objects that are obscured by clouds of gas and dust orthat are so cold that they do not emit any visible radiation at all. Themission is expected to deliver an estimated data volume of up to 50 TB ofdata, which will remain available to the astronomical community for another20 years to exploit scientifically.
"We are proud to count ESA among our customers," said Robert Greene , vicepresident, product strategy of Versant. "We're pleased to be able tocontribute to this challenging scientific project with the most demandingdatabase requirements. The Versant Object Database was chosen after a thoroughcomparative evaluation against another leading database."
ESA, the European Space Agency, is an international organization aimed atexclusively peaceful exploitation and research in space. This includesmissions dedicated to space science, research, industrial policy and practicalapplications. Interested readers are referred to: www.esa.int.