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NAIF

SPICE

An Observation Geometry System
for Space Science Missions

Click here for announcements regarding SPICE data, software, tutorials and training; last updated January 28, 2020.

If you are unfamiliar with SPICE, click here after reading the text below.

NASA's Navigation and Ancillary Information Facility (NAIF) offers NASA flight projects and NASA funded researchers the "SPICE" observation geometry information system to assist scientists in planning and interpreting scientific observations from space-based instruments aboard robotic planetary spacecraft. SPICE is also used in support of engineering tasks associated with these missions. While planetary missions were the original focus, today SPICE is also used on some heliophysics and earth science missions.

The SPICE system is freely available to space agencies, scientists and engineers around the globe, subject to the provisions explained on the Support and Rules web pages. It is also available to the general public with the caveat that support from NAIF is VERY LIMITED.

SPICE deployment begins with production of a set of ancillary data. The SPICE system includes a software suite known as the SPICE Toolkit consisting of application program interfaces (APIs) that customers incorporate in their own application programs to read the SPICE ancillary data files and, using those data, compute derived observation geometry such as altitude, latitude/longitude, and lighting angles, and to also determine various kinds of solar system events.

SPICE data and software may be used within many popular computing environments. The SPICE Toolkit software is offered in FORTRAN 77, ANSI C, IDL® and MATLAB®. A version for Java Native Interface is available upon request. Third party versions for Python, Ruby and other languages exist as well.

In addition to developing and maintaining the SPICE system components, NAIF serves as the "Navigation Node" of NASA's Planetary Data System, archiving SPICE data from NASA's planetary exploration missions. Archived SPICE data from non-NASA missions is sometimes available at other national archives, and for a very few such missions it is also available from this NAIF Node website.

The current version of the SPICE Toolkit, Version N66, was released April 10, 2017. To see what was added, fixed and changed relative to the previous release read the "whats.new" file available on this website under the Toolkit link for the language of interest to you, or see that same file in a Toolkit package you have downloaded.

Sign up with SPICE Announce to receive announcements from NAIF regarding new software, bug fixes, important new kernels (data), training opportunities and similar items. This is strongly recommended for all serious SPICE users.

Sign up with SPICE Discussion should you wish to exchange SPICE-related ideas or questions with other SPICE users. If you have a question for someone at NAIF, simply send email to that person: don't use "SPICE Discussion."


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