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Apollo Heat Flow Experiment Concatenated Datasets

We have developed a PDS bundle containing reduced versions of all available data from the Apollo 15 and 17 Heat Flow Experiments (AHFE). Although the Apollo data is over 40 years old, its relevance continues to increase as interest grows in new missions to the Moon. Since the AHFE provide the only ground truth data for heat flow in the lunar regolith, it's essential that the data record be as accessible and correct as possible. Our new sets correct some errors in the data archived by the original instrument team (A15, A17). They also place these data into unified formats with more recently-recovered data (A15 in PDS, A17 in PDS, A15 + A17 in journal release) and clean some noise in the data.

We wanted to make the data as usable as possible. In our view, the fundamental goal of scientific data usability is to maximize return on science; investigator hours should not be wasted in repetitive tasks like unit conversion, pruning impulsive outliers, and concatenating data sets. With this in mind, we produced three 'flavors' of reduced data designed for different use cases with minimal 'friction'. The translation between our source data and these 'flavors' is completely documented, traceable, and reversible.

We also provide all of our Python code; it is clearly commented and highly readable. We think this is essential to make our work easy for other investigators to correct or extend. It also allows these sets to serve as templates for other versions of the data record optimized for different use cases.


TG11A before


TG11A after

"Bitflip" correction detail

bitflip repair

See our primary documentation and our article in Planetary and Space Science for more details.

We performed this project in partnership with Matthew Siegler (Planetary Science Institute). It was supported by the NASA Solar System Workings program, Grant NNX16AQ10G.