Cosmographia uses a variety of data to construct its visualizations, including ephemerides (trajectories) of natural bodies and spacecraft; orientations of natural bodies and spacecraft; and reference frame specifications (sometimes called coordinate systems). The original, open-source version of Cosmographia, available from the iTunes Store could use only non-SPICE versions of this data, built-in or provided via simple catalog file definitions and text tables.
In this SPICE-Enhanced version of Cosmographia, much of the ephemeris, orientation, and reference frame (coordinate system) data comes from generic SPICE kernel files included in the Cosmographia download packages. These generic kernels were obtained from the NAIF website at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. They span the time frame 1950 to 2050.
One can see a lot using Cosmographia “right out of the box,” using this pre-packaged set of SPICE data. All the planets (yes, including Pluto), the major satellites of the planets, and some asteroids have data provided for them. Many casual users of Cosmographia will find this to be sufficient.
Persons wanting additional SPICE data to be included in Cosmographia visualizations have several options described below. In all of these cases SPICE kernel files of interest must be downloaded to the user’s computer. After that, with a few exceptions, catalog files listing these kernels and defining new Cosmographia objects supported by this data must be made and loaded into the program.
Archived SPICE data
Well organized archival SPICE data from past and ongoing missions can be downloaded from the NAIF website at:
To use these one must create the appropriate catalog files.
You might find SPICE data for other missions available at other locations, or from colleagues. And persons quite familiar with SPICE can create their own SPICE files. You’ll need to create the catalog files for these SPICE data.
Generic SPICE data
Generic kernels having longer time spans and/or providing data for natural bodies not included in the Cosmographia default set can be dowloaded from the NAIF website at