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You know where you are with NASA

You know where you are with NASA

作者:皋腈蓟  时间:2019-03-07 08:20:06  人气:

By Jeff Hecht in Boston WHETHER you are on Earth or on Jupiter, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will help you get your bearings. The JPL’s new Internet service calculates the view from more than 25 000 planets, moons and spacecraft. Designers of communications systems for space probes will be able to use the system to find out exactly when a particular celestial body rises into view. And science-fiction writers will be able to add authenticity by accurately describing when a moon will rise on another planet. Three years ago, JPL put up an early version of the software, which calculated astronomical coordinates as viewed from anywhere on Earth. Jon Giorgini of JPL says the system includes orbital data on the Sun, all the planets, 63 natural satellites, several spacecraft, and more than 25 000 asteroids and comets. Many amateur astronomers use it, he says, as well as NASA mission planners. It has logged some 175 000 requests, despite the fact that interpreting the results requires a knowledge of astronomical coordinates. Now JPL has rewritten the software to calculate positions as seen from other objects. “It’s partly in response to the number of spacecraft-landing projects under consideration or in planning,” says Giorgini. Planners need to know where to point a spacecraft’s antenna to communicate with Earth, and the locations of other bodies to determine a craft’s orientation. Users can log onto a JPL computer via the Internet, or e-mail requests written in standard script. Instructions on using the software are available at http: