The Regional Planetary Image Facility (RPIF) is a library for planetary image data and part of the Planning and Common Management department at the Institute of Planetary Research. The function of the RPIF is to file and make available all data so far gathered by space probes about planetary objects in our Solar System, remote-sensing data of Earth alone excepted.
After the RPIF had been founded in 1985 on the basis of an agreement between DLR and NASA, the library was opened four years later. Initially domiciled at the DLR center in Oberpfaffenhofen, the RPIF has been located at the Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin-Adlershof since 1992. It is part of an international network of image libraries, coordinated by NASA. There are 16 of these facilities worldwide, of which nine are domiciled in the USA, four in Europe, and one each in Canada, Japan, and Israel. Basically, the Berlin RPIF is supposed to serve the entire German-speaking region. All image libraries maintain close contact with one another via data networks. Forming part of NASA’s Planetary Data System (PDS), they offer extensive options of research in the systems’s databases.
The inventory includes image and spectral data from space missions (except Earth exploration missions) as well as the attitude and position data of the relevant probe. To complement these data, there are documents, maps, and a small selection of technical journals and literature. All data are held available in documented and catalogued form for scientific research purposes as well as for the general public.
While most of the data come from American sources, there are also data from European and Soviet/Russian missions. Because of its database, which is almost complete as far as American missions are concerned, the RPIF is the ‘preferred source‘ for planetary image data in Germany, providing an excellent foundation for research activities in this field.
NASA supplies the RPIF with data relating to current as well as future space flights. To supplement the data about Mars, there are up-to-date images taken by the European Mars Express probe to which the DLR Institute of Planetary Research contributed its High Resolution Stereo Camera since 2003.
For persons wishing to use the RPIF‘s extensive stock of material, a work area is available for inspection to researchers as well as the public. The data that are available include documents from NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, California), and the National Space Science Data Center (Greenbelt, Maryland). Computer-based catalogues permit selecting data on the basis of any search terms.
For persons wishing to use the RPIF’s extensive stock of material, a work are is available for inspection to researchers as well as the public. The data that are available include documents from NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC). Computer-based catalogues permit selecting data on the basis of any search terms.
There is no charge for either information or data research. Images in small quantities will be supplied by the RPIF at cost. Larger quantities, particularly when destined for research, must be ordered from the National Space Science Data Center, with the support of the RPIF. Next to assisting individual users, the RPIF offers presentations on a variety of subjects for groups and school forms or as part of teacher in-service training. Lastly, the RPIF presents itself at numerous professional meetings, exhibitions, and fairs.
On our internet page, http://www.dlr.de/rpif/, is an overview of the current stock of images, particularly those released for publication. You will also find other material, such as posters, image series, and building kits in PDF format.