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Astrobiology Resource Metadata Standard (ARMS)

As part of the AHED project, we have been developing the Astrobiology Resource Metadata Standard (ARMS) to describe any astrobiology ‘resource’. An astrobiology resource is a type of electronic or physical artifact that is generated as a product of astrobiology research. Some common resource types include:

  • Datasets
  • Images
  • Video
  • Physical samples
  • Software
  • Scientific models
  • Data analysis scripts
  • Research papers
  • Presentations
  • Websites

ARMS Metadata Fields

To comply with ARMS, a resource must be accompanied by a standard set of astrobiology metadata that describes the resource and characterizes its content.

ARMS metadata fields include the following:

  • Resource Identification metadata (describing resource provenance, points of contact, versioning information, funding and support, and associated geospatial collection information):
    • Resource Name
    • Resource Type
    • Resource Locator
    • Lead Investigators
    • Institutions
    • Points of Contact
    • Initial Release Date
    • Last Revision Date
    • Funding Sources
    • Missions / Projects
    • Data Collection Locations
  • Content metadata (describing the resource and its relation to the broader astrobiological context):
    • Resource Description
    • NASA Astrobiology Program Research Topic
    • Astrobiology Keywords
    • Astrobiology Disciplines

The ARMS XML schema definition is available here.


ARMS provides the standardized framework and metadata for all AHED contributed datasets facilitating standardization, data archiving and discovery. The consistent structure established by ARMS greatly facilitates search and rapid interpretation of results. The keyword hierarchy can be browsed as part of the search page: AHED Exploring tools click here and expand the list of keywords on the left-hand side of the page.

ARMS Applications

Beyond AHED, ARMS can be used to inform the astrobiology portion of a comprehensive science modeling effort, or even be directly incorporated. Portions of ARMS, particularly the extensive keyword hierarchy, may be useful for indexing astrobiology text documents, such as astrobiology research papers, conference submissions, or proposals for funding. Finally, ARMS could be used to support cross-tool communication and representation of astrobiology resources.


Wolfe et al. Enabling Data Discovery with the Astrobiology Resource Metadata Standard, in preparation.