RPIF - Regional Planetary Image Facility


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News from the Earth Sciences

2015-02-19

Postgraduate Taught Prize Winner 2014

In her response to being awarded the MAPS Faculty prize, Lara stated: “I am both thrilled and stunned to receive this prize. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the UCL Hazard Centre and would like to express my gratitude to the staff and fellow students for making it such a great experience. My MSc research project was centred on risk communication during a volcanic emergency and how interdisciplinary methods can be applied to increase the likelihood of successful translation of physical science into an effective emergency response. This is a critical area of applied volcanology as misunderstandings between scientists, emergency managers and the media can transform an emergency into disaster. I would especially like to thank my supervisors for all of their time, guidance and support. I’m excited to be collaborating with them on a paper in the future.” More...

Published: Feb 19, 2015 10:26:16 AM



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UCL Regional Planetary Image Facility


The Regional Planetary Image Facility (RPIF) at UCL is a NASA facility that provides two fundamental roles:

  • The RPIF houses rare and unique hard-copy and digital planetary data from missions spanning four decades of space exploration, which forms part of the Geology Collection, itself part of UCL Museums and Collections.
  • The RPIF 3D facility provides hardware and software necessary for accessing, processing and analysing planetary data for internal and external users.

The UK NASA RPIF is held by UCL, one of only seven outside the USA. Our task is to provide information and data not only to professional researchers in the UK, but also the general public, students, media, school-children and their teachers about planetary missions and their latest findings.

The UCL RPIF is linked with the Centre for Planetary Sciences at UCL/Birkbeck, a cross-disciplinary research group made up from three different departments and over 50 members of academic and research staff.

To visit the RPIF collection or if you’re interested in using the RPIF 3D facility, please contact us.

The RPIF Collection

Our archive includes images and other data from almost all of the NASA planetary missions since the 1960's, covering all the planetary bodies in the solar system which have been surveyed to date by spacecraft.

The data are in the form of photographic prints, negatives, slides, maps, mission information, planetary publications, and CD-ROMS. Much of the data and many of the publications are rare and cannot be found anywhere else. We are unable to provide or sell hard copies of our data, and operate as a browse only facility. Assistance with finding data in the facility can be given by RPIF members, who also frequently give school talks and provide general information on NASA planetary missions. 

The RPIF forms part of The Geology Collections, part of UCL Museums & Collections. The RPIF is open to the public, but we ask you to get in touch to organise a visit.

We also have an annual open house, with tours and talks all day. This is usually in November, and coincides with the Festival of Geology, run by the Geologists' Association at UCL.

The RPIF 3D Facility

In 2009 the RPIF extended its role to include the processing of planetary data for scientific use, particularly the production of stereo digital terrain models. We now provide the hardware and software necessary to process and produce high-resolution digital terrain models from different planetary bodies, using stereo images.

The RPIF 3D Facility uses BAE Systems SocetSet software, and a method developed by the USGS Atrogeology Science Center to produce stereo DTMs.

This facility is free to use, and after attending one of our training workshops both internal and external users are welcome to come and produce their own stereo DTMs.