Software Used to Study Ice on Mars

Ultimately, any images returned by a spacecraft must be processed locally before they can be used for real science. There are many different software packages available for doing various types of image processing and previewing. Listed here are just a few of them. To process RAW data files, use ISIS. If you have access to IDL, you may use the extra IDL software below to make use of THEMIS images. To browse Mars and a collection of some of the science data available, try out Jmars.


ISIS is a heavyweight image processing suite. This package can be used to manipulate images from NASA space craft missions to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and many other solar system bodies. You must have a POSIX compatible operating system to use ISIS. See the download and installation notes page for more information.

Updated IDL Software to Read THEMIS cubes

The Read Themis IDL code written by Drs. Hugh H. Kieffer and Timothy N. Titus at the USGS Flagstaff Field Center in conjuction with the THEMIS SCIENCE TEAM have been updated!
Questions about the use of READ_THEMIS or READ_RDR should be directed to Dr. Timothy N. Titus, These programs are provided as a community service with no warranty.

Download version 7.6.11 of the updated IDL code that reads THEMIS image cubes.


Jmars is a software package that runs on Java (version 1.4) and will allow anyone to download preview images of real science data. To start with, make sure that you have Java version 1.4 installed.[1] More information on Java is available at the Jmars web site. Then, download and run the jmars.jar file. This should get you started with a MOLA background. Add layers to see other datasets. This tool is nearly the same as one used by scientists. The difference lies in what data sets are available for use.

[1] If you do not have version 1.4, you must install it. You can find version 1.4 on Sun's © website. You do not need to remove any other version that you have, but you do need to tell Jmars what version to use when starting. This is done by adding the -version switch. For example, I have version 1.4.2_10, so in my command line start up of Jmars, I have something like this: java -version:1.4.2_10 -Xmx512M -jar jmars.jar

PIGWAD (U.S.G.S. Planetary GIS Web Server):

PIGWAD offers several different levels of interface to planetary GIS information. Start by clicking on “Pigwad Maps” on the right hand side of the screen.