OpenSpace is open source interactive data visualization software designed to visualize the entire known universe and portray our ongoing efforts to investigate the cosmos.

OpenSpace brings the latest techniques from data visualization research to the general public.  OpenSpace supports interactive presentation of dynamic data from observations, simulations, and space mission planning and operations. OpenSpace works on multiple operating systems, with an extensible architecture powering high resolution tiled displays and planetarium domes, and makes use of the latest graphic card technologies for rapid data throughput.   In addition, OpenSpace enables simultaneous connections across the globe, creating opportunity for shared experiences among audiences worldwide.

CCfits (and) starts and GDAL isolation

Rickard & Michael S.: Last week we mainly focused on the rendering of rover-derived models. As of now we can render them, but without a correct placement. We’ve only started looking into the placement of the models. We’ve also received new, more accurate data for rendering the rover path on top of the reference ellipsoid, and implemented it in OpenSpace.

Michael N. & Oskar: Last week we integrated the CCfits library into OpenSpace as a separate module. The module will be used to read and process the high resolution imagery in the FITS format that the spacecraft provide. We’ve also started adding kameleon’s field line tracer to OpenSpace in order to support more of CCMC’s data models and managed to render some of the data from ENLIL. CCMC also provided us with the SPICE kernel for SDO and we can now render its trail/orbit in the correct location.

Jonathan: Since last week I’ve implemented a TouchInteraction class that handles and interprets the input. Zooming, rotation and panning now work by having the touch event add a velocity, and the interaction class calculates the new camera position orientation by incrementing with velocity times dt. The velocities all have some friction/intertia to eventually stop the interaction and make the movement smooth. In the coming week I will continue to work on how the touch input is best interpreted, as well as adding rolling to the multi-touch gesture list.

Kalle: I have worked on a memory aware tile cache that can be dynamically resized, to limit the amount of memory used for caching tiles. I have also isolated GDAL in the globe browsing module so that GDAL is no longer a necessary dependency. If OpenSpace is not compiled with GDAL, a simple tile reader will be used instead. The simple tile reader currently only supports the common image formats used by the texture loader, and the textures currently need to have width and height being powers of two.

Gene: The frequent crashing of the Jenkins Mac node seems to be fixed now, but I’m watching it long-term to make sure it stays that way. I fixed a build problem with satellite TLE downloading with luasocket. I can now get the luasocket library to build as a part of building OpenSpace, rather than having to build it separately. I’m working on a feature that allows scenegraph nodes to be tagged and then operated on (e.g. renderable commands) as a group.

OpenSpace NYC: Cassini & Messenger Buildathon

See Your Visualizations of NASA Missions on the Planetarium Dome! c-h-18-a28-hayden_planetarium_at_night

Calling all 3D Artists, Graphics Programmers & Software Developers, Astronomers & Astrophysicists: Would you like to see your own interactive space simulation running on the Hayden Planetarium dome?

Come join our OpenSpace “Buildathon” and be among the first to join the OpenSpace creator community!

The Buildathon will take place at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City on October 29, 2016. For more information visit

Osiris-REx Launch Event at AMNH

sgct_openspace_000002_small Today, NASA launched the OSIRIS-REx mission to obtain a sample of the asteroid Bennu and return it to Earth for further study. Scientists chose to sample Bennu, a primitive, carbon-rich near-Earth object, due to its potentially hazardous orbital path and informative composition.

On Monday, Sept 12, join Carter Emmart at the American Museum of Natural History for an OpenSpace-built Osiris-REx after-hours public program in which the Osiris-REx mission’s projected trajectory and potential sampling locations will be visualized on the AMNH Hayden Planetarium dome.


New Horizons’ Media Responses

Breakfast at Pluto Event at AMNH LeFrak Theatre

Breakfast at Pluto Event at AMNH LeFrak Theatre

Our event was a great success with much media attention throughout the world. If you have a news article covering our event, please let us know! First and foremost, the whole event took place in a Google Hangouts that is available online: Youtube Pre-event information: American Museum of Natural History As for the news articles: International: Engadget Gizmodo SpaceFlight Insider Swedish: Linköping University Press Release Norrköpings Tidningar Corren

Prerelease for New Horizons’ Closest Approach

In honor of the closest approach of the New Horizons spacecraft at Pluto, we prepared another pre-alpha version of OpenSpace in binary form. You can find all information about this in the Download section (or by following this link).

Using this pre-alpha version, we organize a global event connecting many planetariums the world over to celebrate this unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Prerelease for Pluto-Palooza at the AMNH

To coincide with the Pluto Palooza at the AMNH, we are releasing a pre-alpha version of OpenSpace in binary form for Windows and Mac platforms. All information for this release is found here. was present at the Pluto-Palooza in New York and some of the OpenSpace footage is shown next to the great explanations of the mission scientists:


This Saturday we will have an unofficial demo session at the IMERSA conference hosted in Boulder, CO. The demo will be given in the Fiske planetarium after the official events and will be hosted by Carter Emmart and driven by Miroslav Andel.