For new users

Glad you're here! We'll make this quick—just a few things we want to let you know before you get too far into the Notebook.

Different Notebooks have different features

The Analyst's Notebook for each mission is different from the others. It is tailored to the mission, and information available from the archives and from science team results in a unique Notebook with specific features. You will find these help pages mostly applicable to recent Notebooks—those for MSL Curiosity, InSight, and MER Spirit and Opportunity. When you see a label like MSLApplies to the
in the help, the text is relevant to the specific mission Notebook(s). We are working to unify the look and feel for all Notebooks and their help.

This is a good place to mention that the Mars rovers are named apart from the mission name. Curiosity is the rover of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, and Spirit and Opportunity are from the MER (Mars Exploration Rovers) missions. Sometimes we use the mission name in the Notebook and sometimes the rover name, but we usually are referring to the same thing.

Notebook sections

The Notebook has a number of sections to help you better understand the mission and access the data. You can switch to different sections by clicking on the tabs on the left side of the Notebook (or along the top for older missions).

Mission summaries
High-level overview of the mission. Information is derived from the mission science and instrument teams reports.
Sol summaries
Detailed surface operations listings on day by day basis. Includes data products, documents, targets, mosaics, and plans.
Customizable searches for data, targets, and documentation.
Interactive plot showing rover traverse over time.
Additional information about the mission and data
Management of personalized settings, history, favorites, and your cart.
Information on using the data and the Notebook.

You can read more about navigating the Notebook and about the Notebook sections.

Science data and file formats

You might see beautiful images and nice-looking graphs in the Notebook. These are representations of the data collected on Mars and the moon. What you'll get when you download the data is the science version of the data that planetary scientists use for research. These are the peer-reviewed data that comprise NASA's Planetary Data System archives, and they are in an archive format.

Some of the science data can be opened with standard software (for example, some tables are in CSV format that can be opened by Excel). Or you may need specialized software to work with some data, as is the case with most images. That brings us to the next topic...

How do I know what I want?

You probably know that you want data from a particular instrument, but you may not know how the data are organized or formatted. Here is a simple two-course introduction.

Do not return this item to the store

Have ever bought an item that doesn't seem to work? You are about to take it back and then notice a sticker with the words "do not return this item to the store". The manufacturer would rather have you call them to work out the problem.

We feel the same way. If something isn't working or doesn't make sense, let us know! We want everything in tip-top shape.

You can access the feedback form from the Help section, or post questions on our user forum or send us an e-mail.