Wednesday, August 17, 2011

ERDAS APOLLO Manages Space Data

ERDAS announces that the Italian Space Agency (ASI) is using ERDAS APOLLO to manage data collected from different space missions and deliver it for public consumption via a web portal.

ASI is collaborating with the ESA and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on the Cassini-Huygens, Mars Express, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) missions. The Cassini-Huygens mission primarily focuses on two of Saturn’s moons, Titan and Enceladus, as well as Saturn itself. So far, the mission has found evidence of heat and organic chemicals and the possibility of liquid water on the surface of Enceladus, indicating the potential for the formation of primitive life forms. Cassini, the orbiter component of Cassini-Huygens, carries 12 instruments which have returned a daily stream of data since arriving at Saturn in 2004. Huygens, the smaller probe portion of Cassini-Huygens, landed on Titan’s surface in 2005 and returns data about Titan’s vast methane lakes and hydrocarbon sand dunes.

The primary objective of the Mars Express mission is to investigate the basic characteristics of Mars. The Mars Express orbiter will create high-resolution imagery (10 meters/pixel) of the entire Martian surface and super resolution imagery (2 meters/pixel) of selected areas. It will also produce a map of the mineral composition of the surface at 100 meter resolution, map the composition of the atmosphere and determine its global circulation, determine the structure of the sub-surface to a depth of a few kilometers, determine the effect of the atmosphere on the planetary surface, and determine how the atmosphere interacts with the solar wind. Mars Express spends a portion of its orbit facing Mars to collect data, and the other part facing the Earth to transmit data back to ground stations. Every day, the ground stations receive between 0.5 and 5 Gbits of scientific data from Mars Express.

The main objective of the MRO mission is to investigate the presence of water on Mars. Other Mars missions have shown that water existed on Mars’ surface in the past, but scientists still don’t know whether water was around long enough to foster development of life. MRO is taking close-up photographs of the Martian surface, analyzing minerals, searching for subsurface water, measuring the dust and water content of the atmosphere, and monitoring daily weather conditions.

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