Open Access and the Creative Commons
Open access to ESA’s content is not just necessary to spread the message of the Agency as widely as possible in today's digital age, but also necessary to give back ESA’s scientific and technical knowledge and insight to the tax payers in the member states who fund the Agency. To this end, ESA has decided to release subsets of content under the Creative Commons IGO licencing scheme. This allows, for example, images to be widely used on social and traditional media or Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons.
One of the first sets of images to be released under this scheme were the NAVCAM images from the Rosetta comet chasing mission. The huge popular appeal of the mission created a thirst for images and information about the spacecraft and its comet.
Hence in November 2014, the NAVCAM images were shared with the general public under a Creative Commons licence known as “CC BY-SA IGO attribution share-alike”, which was designed for use by intergovernmental organisations.
Other datasets that are being released in this way include the Mars Express Visual Monitoring Camera, and the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera as well other imagery such as photos from ESA's facilities and sites. More will follow.