TITLE: The Center for Advanced Space Studies

ACCESS: WWW: http://cass.jsc.nasa.gov/CASS_home.html

or Telnet: cass.jsc.nasa.gov
Login: cass, Password: online
Terminal Emulation: vt100, X-windows

Established 25 years ago under the auspices of the National Academy of Science, the Universities Space Research Association is a consortium of 76 colleges and universities that support graduate programs in the space sciences and aerospace engineering. The Center for Advanced Space Studies, located in Houston near the Johnson Space Center, is one of USRA's principal research facilities and a major conference center. Built in 1991, CASS is home to the Exploration Science Institute, Division of Educational Programs, Division of Space Life Sciences and the Lunar and Planetary Institute. These agencies support space and planetary research through project coordination, educational programs, conferences, publishing, and computer networking.

CASS's menu-based online system reflects its collaborative mission. A common interface permits users to easily move between the Center's diverse collection of resources. However, users must contend with minor command and display variations within individual tools and databases. Online help is readily available. The system's downloading feature supports email, ftp, X, Y and Z modems.

Students, researchers and the public can keep abreast of current research and exploration projects in the LPI Bulletin, a quarterly publication of the Lunar & Planetary Institute, and on the Mars Exploration Bulletin Board. A conference and workshop schedule lists upcoming meetings and seminars.

The Lunar & Planetary Bibliography, Library Catalog and Meeting Abstracts provide access to an extensive collection of literature on space and planetary research.

Planetary science researchers will be interested in CASS's Image Retrieval & Processing System, a database containing information about planetary images. Each record includes: mission, spacecraft and imaging instrumentation; time, date, latitude and longitude when taken; the geometry of the spacecraft, planet and sun; and ordering information. Additional planetary data and information are available in the USGS Index to Planetary Maps, Venusian Impact Crater Inventory and USGS Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. The latter is a browsable index of hundreds of named geographical features.

CASS's World-Wide Web homepage contains links to its online system, NASA's WWW document and the Planetary Data Institute. However, at the time of this review, the link to the Center's online system failed to connect properly.

CASS is an excellent resource for the professional researcher or student interested in the exploration and mapping of the Solar System. However, it's easy to use interface and current news items will appeal to the general science student and space enthusiast.

Michael White
Science Librarian
Loyola University Chicago
April 20, 1994

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