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Pursuant to a congressional request, the GAO reviewed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) data archiving program, focusing on: (1) NASA improvements to its data archiving policies and practices in response to recommendations; and (2) other needed program improvements.
The GAO found that NASA: (1) has responded to its recommendations by improving its data storage conditions, creating subject area archives, locating, restoring, and archiving data from past missions, and revising its data management policies and procedures; (2) has not completed its efforts to locate archival data from past missions because it has not assessed data held in temporary storage locations; (3) cannot estimate the funds needed for archival data restoration because it lacks information on the availability of past mission data; (4) needs to develop data management plans so it can adequately budget for future archiving needs; (5) has not reached agreement with other agencies on the storage of Earth Observing System data; (6) does not ensure that original data are preserved until permanent archives are created and does not periodically inspect data archive facilities or sample data to ensure that physical conditions protect data quality; and (7) needs to update its data management policies to reflect changes in its responsibilities due to its reorganization.