Welcome to the Planets

Planetary Data System
January 3, 1995

Dear User:

NASA, the Planetary Data System, and the Data Distribution Laboratory are pleased to provide this educational CD-ROM entitled "Welcome to the Planets." "Welcome to the Planets" consists of 190 selected images acquired over approximately 20 years of NASA planetary exploration. Each image is accompanied by information about Solar System bodies and various spacecraft that explored them.


This educational CD-ROM is dedicated to Dr. William Quaide, former Chief Scientist, Office of Solar System Exploration, NASA Headquarters. His long-term interest in acquiring, archiving, and analysis of planetary data led directly to the growth of the Planetary Data System. Given his additional interest in education, it is entirely fitting that the volume be dedicated to him.

Two methods are available to access "Welcome to the Planets." The first is a multimedia Macintosh program named WELCOME.MAC that is designed for use on Macintosh computers. The second is through use of HTML hypertext files. Both methods are designed to introduce the user interactively to planetary exploration using images and text. "Welcome to the Planets" can be used alone as an introduction to planetary science, or as a tool for solving problems in conjunction with exercises written by a teacher. In addition to the image data, "Welcome to the Planets" provides information about the spacecraft that acquired the data, along with information about each planet. The primary intent of "Welcome to the Planets" is to provide the teacher with an overview of planetary exploration, at approximately a high school or college level. The expectation is that teachers would use the programs at a variety of grade levels.

"Welcome to the Planets" for Macintosh computers requires operating System 7.0 or higher, with 8 Mbytes RAM, and a 640 X 480 screen with 8-bit color. WELCOME.MAC runs directly from the CD-ROM by double-clicking on the program icon in the top level directory of the CD-ROM. Most actions are accomplished by pushing buttons, moving sliders, or clicking on an item of interest.

The HTML hypertext file named INDEX.HTM allows access to the hypertext form of "Welcome to the Planets." The hypertext file includes captions and image files. The hypertext file can be used with NCSA Mosaic and similar HTML client software products on many platforms. The NCSA Mosaic software can be acquired from NCSA's anonymous ftp server located at ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu. Questions about Mosaic should be sent by electronic mail to http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/planets/ .

The images in "Welcome to the Planets" are included in GIF format in the GIF directory of the CD-ROM. Inclusion of these files allows the user to display them using GIF image viewers. An example of a source for GIF viewers is Washington University's WUARCHIVE, located on the Internet at wuarchive.wustl.edu in the systems directory. Software is organized by computer platform in WUARCHIVE. Software can be downloaded via NCSA Mosaic or anonymous ftp. Note also that a file describing the CompuServe GIF format is located in the DOCUMENT directory of this CD-ROM.

The top level directory of this CD-ROM contains a text file, an executable file, a hypertext file, and several directories. The text file named AAREADME.TXT is a brief description of the structure and contents of the disk. The executable file is WELCOME.MAC, the Macintosh multimedia program written using Macromind Director. INDEX.HTM is an NCSA Mosaic hypertext file. All other files on the disk are contained in directories as discussed below. The GIF directory contains GIF versions of the images used in "Welcome to the Planets" organized into subdirectories by planet. The SND directory contains files used to store sound in the Macintosh version of "Welcome to the Planets." The WELCOME directory contains hypertext files needed to run the HTML version of "Welcome to the Planets."

Many individuals were instrumental to the completion of this CD-ROM volume. Personnel at the Data Distribution Lab were responsible for the design and function of the programs. Several individuals at Washington University in St. Louis and other Planetary Data System sites were responsible for scientific and editorial input, project management, and peer review of the scientific content of the disc. In addition, many individuals were responsible for contribution of data. Major data contributors are listed in the VOLINFO.TXT. Special thanks to the United States Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Arizona for their major contributions. They were erroneously omitted from the VOLINFO.TXT file.


Susan K. McMahon