NASA has a really cool website:

The website allows you to access large data sets and connect to virtual lab’s using Amazon AWS.

Not only do you get the data sets, virtual lab’s, but you also have the ability to win prizes and listen to various lecturers on this subject matter.


While it’s all free, AWS is a tricky place.  I’ve used it before in a  “free” tier, only to get charged for some miss click.  You need to read what Amazon tier and machine type you choose.  In my case I used what they called an elastic IP and was charged for using it.  Something I didn’t even consider. I had picked the right tier (free) and still was charged because the IP was “elastic.”  As you might guess, it could be very easy to get hit with charges with AWS.  If you are not a agency or corporation with lots of funds, this might seem a bit daunting and should do you do diligence in choosing the right AWS tier.

NASA’s website does have a tutorial on how to set this up so you accrue no charges.  The micro tier (that’s free) will not be too powerful, but it will have some usefulness.

What’s Installed in the Virtual Lab

You will have access to the large data sets NASA provides for global climate data and remote sensing data.

You also have three tools to parse the data:

  • Shell script
  • R script
  • Python script

The cool thing here, is that R is already installed on the AWS lab instances.  So you can do all sorts of statistical analysis.  When you choose a cost based tier, you can leverage the computing power of a larger tier (paid) to crunch statistical analysis/predictive analysis, etc.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *