Planetary Images on CD-ROM and on the WWW

Volume 12, Number 4, December 1996
By David Williams

On Friday, July 31, 1964, just after 9:00 in the morning eastern daylight time, the Ranger 7 probe turned on its cameras, took its first picture, and transmitted it back to Earth. The picture showed a large lava plain and some craters on the Moon, not a particularly spectacular view, except for the fact that it was the first picture of another body ever returned to Earth by a U.S. space probe. This image is one of over 200 planetary images on NSSDC's new Planetary Images CD-ROM. The images cover all the planets and major satellites in this solar system and also include asteroids, comets, and rings from most of the planetary missions flown over the last 35 years, up to and including the recent Galileo images taken at Jupiter. Each image includes a short descriptive caption and a higher resolution full-screen version, grouped together by planet and mission.

Earth's Moon - Ranger 7

The CD-ROM features a Macromedia Director display for Macintosh and Windows machines running current operating systems and has an HTML version for use with Web browsers on other platforms. Many popular color images are included, but there are also a large number of lesser-known black and white raw images from the missions that show greater detail. The CD-ROM is available from NSSDC for $10.00 per copy (plus $5.00 per order for foreign mailing).

The images on the CD-ROM were selected from over 400 currently available on the World Wide Web on NSSDC's Catalog of Spaceborne Imaging. The catalog can be accessed at Like the CD-ROM the catalog contains images organized by planetary body and mission. The catalog includes much more extensive data on each image in addition to the captions. NSSDC expects to extend the catalog as time goes by and hopes to include a sample of every type of image from all planetary missions held at NSSDC before the end of 1997. In addition to being an interesting browse product, the catalog is a useful resource for anyone interested in ordering hard-copy planetary images from NSSDC and also serves as a tool for the Request Office to find and describe the types of images available at NSSDC.

Voyager 2 - Jupiter's Clouds and the Great Red Spot

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Miranda Beall,, (301) 286-0162
Hughes STX, Code 633, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771, U.S.A.

Erin D. Gardner,, (301) 286-0163
Hughes STX, Code 633, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771, U.S.A.

NASA home page GSFC home page GSFC organizational page

Author:Miranda Beall
Curators: Erin Gardner and Miranda Beall
Responsible Official: Dr. Joseph H. King, Code 633
Last Revised: 10 JAN 1997 [EDG]