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New Image Gallery For The Planetary Science Archive
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Aug 13, 2018

The Planetary Science Archive has been developed as a collaboration between the ESAC Science Data Centre and ESA's Planetary Science Ground Segments. It is hosted on ESA's servers at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) near Madrid, Spain.

Scientists exploring ESA's Planetary Science Archive website can now browse images and other data products via a visual gallery. This newly added feature was developed to facilitate the search process of data collected by the agency's space science missions at planets, moons and other small bodies in the Solar System.

The Planetary Science Archive (PSA) is the online interface for scientists who use observations from ESA's planetary missions for their research. After a revamp at the beginning of 2017, which featured a novel design and a more dynamic way to query the data, the archive team has now implemented a new, visually-friendly image gallery function, providing users with additional possibilities to delve into the large amounts of images, spectra, and other data products that are stored in the archive.

It is now possible to select a target - for example Rosetta's Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko - alongside other specifications, such as a particular instrument or period in time, and quickly obtain a series of images that visually convey some of the characteristics of that particular dataset.

This function, which can be selected using the 'Image view' button, can ease the search for close-up images of the comet against wider views of the nucleus and its environment, or for the signature of different comet components, like one or both comet lobes, in a series of spectra.

Other interesting targets to explore in the new image gallery are images of Venus taken with the Venus Monitoring Camera on Venus Express, or views of Saturn's moon Titan obtained by the Huygens lander of the Cassini mission.

All data products in the archive, which contains data spanning three decades of ESA's exploration of the Solar System, can be browsed via the image gallery mode.

However, an image preview (or 'browse product') is currently available only for selected data products: mostly imaging data but also other products such as spectra from the Alice instrument on Rosetta, radargrams from the MARSIS instrument on Mars Express, and data plots from radio-science and plasma instruments onboard Rosetta, Mars Express and Venus Express.

The new image gallery was implemented by the PSA team in response to specific needs of the scientific community. The team maintains the archive, regularly updates its infrastructure and improves its content to provide a continually enhanced and more reliable experience to the users.

The Planetary Science Archive has been developed as a collaboration between the ESAC Science Data Centre and ESA's Planetary Science Ground Segments. It is hosted on ESA's servers at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) near Madrid, Spain.

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