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Visualization Tools for NEAR Shoemaker Data
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Visualization Tools for NEAR Shoemaker Data

October 23, 2009
Most of the instruments on the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft return measurements other than images. These include spectra of Eros' reflected sunlight or emitted gamma-rays, laser measurements of spacecraft range to the asteroid, or measurements of magnetic field strength. With images it is easy to visualize the data because an image shows, more or less, what a human eye would see at Eros. For data from the other instruments, various visualization tools are used to depict data in a more readily comprehended format. For example, each day the imager takes a large mosaic called the "daily global" that shows most of Eros' surface as viewed from one place at one time. The visualization tool in this animation shows the pattern made by the footprint of the near-infrared spectrometer (NIS) during one such daily global, on March 5, 2000. Tools like this help the NEAR Team's scientists track the spatial coverage of data on Eros' surface.