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NAIF Node Report Chuck Acton. PDSMC 4/3-4/2008 Washington D.C. Background Info. The “SPICE Boys”. Chuck Acton. Nat Bachman. Ed Wright. Boris Semenov. NAIF’s Funding. NAIF gets funding via Bill Knopf in three chunks NAIF node of the PDS (just like what you get)

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naif node report chuck acton

NAIF Node ReportChuck Acton



Washington D.C.

the spice boys
The “SPICE Boys”

Chuck Acton

Nat Bachman

Ed Wright

Boris Semenov

naif s funding
NAIF’s Funding
  • NAIF gets funding via Bill Knopf in three chunks
    • NAIF node of the PDS (just like what you get)
    • Core multi-mission SPICE system development
    • Participation in the “Advanced Multi-Mission Operations System (AMMOS), centered at JPL
  • NAIF’s other sources of funding (14) are all for flight project support
    • Mostly for JPL-operated missions
    • Some for support of U.S. interests in three ESA missions (MEX, VEX, Rosetta)
    • A token retainer from APL for MESSENGER and New Horizons
naif funding breakdown
NAIF Funding Breakdown

NAIF Node: $350K ---> 1.25 FTE

Core SPICE: $465K ---> 1.66 FTE

AMMOS funding is for Toolkit porting, bug fixes, and support for AMMOS SPICE users. Plus implementation of a small new tool of general use.

who uses spice
Who Uses SPICE?
  • While SPICE is not a formal PDS standard…
    • All NASA planetary flight projects save Lunar Prospector have “elected” to use SPICE
      • A number of non-planetary missions also use portions
    • Japanese scientists on Hayabusa and SELENE are (quietly) using SPICE
    • ISRO (India) has announced it will use SPICE on all future planetary missions
    • ESA’s use of SPICE has been substantial and is still growing
    • At least one Chinese scientist set out to use SPICE on Chang’e
      • Current status unknown
    • Russia wants to use SPICE for GRUNT
    • SPICE is used in DSN scheduling and antenna operations software
    • SPICE is used by some (Air Force) customers of The Aerospace Corp.
    • and more….

See next chart for list of major customers

some metrics
Some Metrics
  • NAIF makes little effort to track “real” metrics. But some possibly relevant info is…
    • 190 people from around the globe are signed up with the “SPICE Announce” Mailman notification system
    • SPICE Toolkits downloaded:
      • Version N61 (12/4/2006 to 2/25/2008): 2247
        • Fortran: 600, C: 1162, IDL: 483
      • Version N60 (12/19/2005 to 12/2/2006): 1599
        • Fortran: 433, C: 838, IDL: 328
      • We know some of these are “phony”
        • Some done by robots
        • Some people grab all environments rather than just the one they need
        • But the data suggest the majority are legitimate
    • NAIF receives a substantial number of unsolicited “thank you” emails
      • (That we receive no big complaints probably means nothing.)
more metrics
More Metrics

NAIF Web Metrics for 2007

naif node activities
NAIF Node Activities


  • Ingest incremental SPICE archives from ongoing NASA flight projects:
    • Cassini, Odyssey, MER, MRO, NExT, EPOXI, Messenger, New Horizons
    • See archive “style” notes on next page
  • Provide SPICE archive instructions/review for “new” NASA missions:
    • Dawn, Phoenix, LRO, LCROSS, MSL, Juno
  • Finish restoration work:
    • Viking Orbiter, Magellan, Galileo
    • New SPKs for Voyagers (maybe also Pioneer 10/11)
  • User consultation on the above
  • Improve archival holdings
    • E.g. recently added “FURNSH” files for all archives
spice archive style
SPICE Archive Style
  • The SPICE archive style is to always produce a single, accumulating SPICE data set for each mission.
    • Is possible since a mission’s complete SPICE collection is (usually) pretty small
    • Makes user access to SPICE data much easier
    • Makes the data set production much more straight forward
  • NAIF has produced a rather comprehensive “SPICE Archive Guide,” complete with examples and scripts/tools to help produce a SPICE archive in the NAIF-mandated style.
    • It’s available to anyone who wants it.
naif node activities13
NAIF Node Activities


  • Improve NAIF web pages: access to all SPICE data, software, training materials, etc.
  • Update/improve SPICE tutorials and programming lessons
    • These are continuously evolving
  • Teach domestic SPICE classes
  • Participate, as appropriate, in PDS system development
  • Maintain and distribute a definitive “SPICE Archiving Guide” for SPICE archive producers outside of JPL
  • Participate in Mars and Lunar Geodesy and Cartography Working Groups
  • Conduct some “marketing” effort towards finding new users (e.g. Constellation)
core spice development activities
Core SPICE Development Activities
  • Continue building the multi-mission SPICE system
    • New functions, large and small
      • E.g. geometric event finder subsystem and expanded shape model subsystems are being worked now. Both are big jobs!
      • Lots of “small” items from the SPICE work list
    • New languages
      • Past example: just added MATLAB
      • May try to add Java Native Interface (JNI) and Python
    • New environments (funding shared with AMMOS*)
      • E.g. new OSs, new compilers, 64 bit machines
        • An increasing number of such requests are being received from users
    • Improvements to existing components
      • More extensive and more automated code testing
      • Recent examples:
        • Added fully linked HTML documentation
        • Added more accurate light-time corrected velocity computations

The new geometric event finder subsystem, and perhaps the JNI interface, might contribute to a “geometry engine” capability, if that sort of thing should ever come to the forefront at the PDS or IPDA or individual node level.

*AMMOS = Advanced Multi-Mission Operations System

setting priorities how does naif decide what to do
Setting Priorities:How Does NAIF Decide What to Do?
  • NAIF Node
    • First priority:
      • Keep up with mission SPICE data archiving
        • NAIF produces a single, “accumulating” data set for each mission
      • User consultation
    • Second priority:
      • Everything else
  • Core SPICE Development
    • About 90% of the SPICE development effort is self determined
      • Hard to get much input from the user community
      • We try to keep aware of what multi-mission capabilities the upcoming and ongoing flight projects could use, and focus on those items to some extent
      • Otherwise we just review our work lists and decide what makes sense based on past experience and input from Acton who has attended assorted project meetings
    • Guiding principles
      • Don’t break, change, or take away previously delivered capabilities
      • Test and document the heck out of everything
      • Always take the long view
known problems concerns
Known Problems & Concerns
  • Technical
    • It can be difficult to select kernels for a particular task
      • Seems mostly in the mission operations time frame, not so much when using archived data
        • (The recent addition of “furnsh files” to the archived SPICE data sets helps.)
    • SPICE has a steep leaning curve
      • Tutorials and classes help some.
      • New interfaces (IDL and MATLAB) help some.
      • Maybe you have suggestions?
    • The instrument model (IK) does not normally accommodate geometric calibration, so can’t (accurately) project a given pixel onto a surface
    • Your inputs … ?
known problems concerns17
Known Problems & Concerns
  • Programmatic
    • The NASA position on working with foreign missions as it relates to SPICE support is often unclear or nonexistent
      • This applies mostly to mission ops support, as in pre-launch SPICE training
      • But also a question re archiving
    • Acton has an (unsubstantiated) concern that some of the new SPICE producers are not (will not be) sufficiently trained and staffed to do a good job
      • This is more of a general Planetary Science Division issue than a PDS issue, but it could ultimately affect the quality of archived SPICE data.
questions for you regarding ancillary data in pds4
Questions For You Regarding Ancillary Data in PDS4
  • Should “SPICE” be the PDS ancillary data standard, or remain the recommended method for:
      • providing operational ancillary data? (Perhaps not a PDS question, but related)
      • providing archival ancillary data?
    • If a project elects to not produce ancillary data in SPICE formats:
      • what happens during mission ops?
      • what happens at and subsequent to archive delivery time?
  • What changes/additions to SPICE (or to ancillary data) are needed and/or nice to meet PDS4 functionality as you envision it?
    • “Geometry engine”?
    • New/more interface languages?
  • Should more be done towards standardization of (some of) the geometry items to be included in all instrument data product labels and index files?
    • ESA’s geolib is an example of such an endeavor
  • How should ancillary data be handled within the IPDA context?
    • Should NAIF actively push for use of SPICE, or just let IPDA find it’s own way, whatever that might be?
  • Should NAIF offer more/different/better training for the domestic planetary science community at large?