About

shapeViewer (comet-toolbox.com/shapeViewer) is a publicly available scientific software designed to display a 3D model of a celestial object in the context of a space mission, simulate observations and operations scenarii, and project data on the shape.

It provides a series of tools specifically developed for mapping and geomorphological investigation. It is particularly suited for the investigation of small bodies (asteroids, comets, …) as it can handle display and mapping of highly convex objects.

shapeViewer has been used for operations planning and scientific analysis by the Rosetta (ESA) and Dawn (NASA) missions since 2010. It is currently one of the planning tools for the Asteroid Framing Cameras on board Hera (ESA) and will be adapted to Comet Interceptor (ESA) in the near future.

As of 2021, the software has been referenced in 20 peer-reviewed articles and many conference contributions.

Main features

  • interactive visualization of asteroid and comets shape models, with photometrically accurate rendering,

  • high performance: switch to a new mission or load shapes with 1+ million facets in less than a second, runs at 60 FPS on a standard laptop,

  • real time rendering of operational scenarios, spacecraft orbit and attitude pre-configured for each mission,

  • retrieval of observation geometry and solar angles (incidence, emission, phase, elevation),

  • calculation and display of the gravity field and effective slopes on the surface,

  • accurate projection of images and other datasets on the shape, individually or in a user-defined sequence (on the fly, no need for any preprocessing of the data),

  • view and export cylindrical, orthographic maps,

  • … and many other features

The program consists of a small executable core engine (<4Mb) and pre-configured “mission packages” that contain all necessary information. For simplicity, we provide full bundles for Rosetta and Hera (executable + specific dataset). Mission packages for other missions (Dawn, Hayabusa, DART, …) can be made available on request.

We try to streamline the user experience as much as possible. All most commonly used tools are accessible from a graphical interface and should be sufficient for the majority of users. The program can, however, do much more than that and provides a scripting interface as well as an integrated command line that give access to advanced functions.

Note

shapeViewer is a fully offline software. Apart from checking for updates (manually activated), the software does not interact with the world outside your computer.

Download and Installation

shapeViewer can be found at comet-toolbox.com/shapeViewer.

The program is distributed as a ZIP file archive. Simply decompress it to the location of your choice, no installation required. The archive contains two executables:

  • shapeViewer.exe is the Windows 64bits version. It is developed and tested on Windows 10, but should work on Windows 7 as well. Linux and macOS users can run this version via the Wine interface.

  • shapeViewer_linux is a native Linux 64bits version compiled on Ubuntu 20.04. Contact me if you need support for other distributions.

Acknowledgement

We kindly ask all users to include the following acknowledgement: This research has made use of the scientific software shapeViewer (www.comet-toolbox.com).

Reference: Vincent et al. shapeViewer, a sofware for the scientific mapping and morphological analysis of small bodies, LPSC, (2018).

License

shapeViewer is written in C and makes use of several Free libraries:

shapeViewer is distributed under a Simplified BSD license:

Copyright (c) 2010-2021, Jean-Baptiste Vincent

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification,
are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice,
this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice,
this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation
and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS "AS IS" AND
ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED
WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE
DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COPYRIGHT OWNER OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY
DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES
(INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES;
LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND
ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT
(INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS
SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.