A computer program defines and implements an innovative kind of data structure than can be used for representing information derived from serendipitous discoveries made via collection of scientific data on long exploratory spacecraft missions. Data structures capable of collecting any kind of data can easily be implemented in advance, but the task of designing a fixed and efficient data structure suitable for processing raw data into useful information and taking advantage of serendipitous scientific discovery is becoming increasingly difficult as missions go deeper into space. The present software eases the task by enabling definition of arbitrarily complex data structures that can adapt at run time as raw data are transformed into other types of information. This software runs on a variety of computers, and can be distributed in either source code or binary code form. It must be run in conjunction with any one of a number of Lisp compilers that are available commercially or as shareware. It has no specific memory requirements and depends upon the other software with which it is used. This program is implemented as a library that is called by, and becomes folded into, the other software with which it is used.

This program was written by Mark James of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free online at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Software category.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-42086.


This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Representation of Serendipitous Scientific Data

(reference NPO-42086) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the December, 2006 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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