The Rings Node for the Planetary Data System

Grant #: NNX09AV88G
Senior Scientist: Mark Showalter

This project consists of continuing in our role as the Rings Node for the Planetary Data System. Our future plans build upon our long experience in addressing the needs of diverse users from both within and outside the ring science community. Our most recent innovation is a new on-line search engine, which addresses the otherwise intractable problem of how to search for data products across a disparate collection of missions and instruments. Our primary goals for the next five years are (1) to improve and simplify the experiences of our users in finding and using planetary data, (2) to help integrate the Discipline Nodes of the PDS into a coherent and more effective data system, (3 ) to preserve and enhance the remarkable scientific legacy of the Cassini mission, and ( 4) to ensure that historical data sets remain accessible well into the future. In addition, we propose to undertake new E/PO work to capitalize upon our position among the top-ranked web sites related to planetary rings. By combining our visibility, knowledge and technical savvy with the educational expertise already in-house at the SETI Institute, we propose to develop an interactive website, high-quality animations, diagrams and images, and museum display materials that engage and inspire the public about the nature, diversity, and significance of planetary ring systems.