of SPICE kernels, especially the more modern ones, include "metadata" -- data
about data -- within the kernel file. These metadata are provided in
one of two ways.
- For text
kernels (IK, FK, LSK, SCLK, MK and text PcK) the metadata are simply
inserted in the file... at the very top or between "/begintext" and
tokens occurring within the file. These metadata, and indeed all
the "real" data of the kernel, may be viewed by opening
the text kernel with any text editor (e.g. vi or emacs or MS Word)
or text display tool (e.g. cat or more or print).
- For binary
kernels (SPK, CK, EK/ESQ, binary PcK, DSK) the metadata are provided
within a "comment area" within the file. These metadata
may be viewed using the "commnt" utility program provided
in the SPICE Toolkit. (Other mechanisms for manipulating these metadata
comments tutorial for more information about metadata within SPICE kernel files.
The SPICE Toolkit
contains some kernel utilities that can provide information about a kernel.
"brief" and "spacit" can summarize an SPK or binary PCK, "ckbrief" and "spacit" can summarize a CK, and "dskbrief" can summarize a DSK.