This page contains all information about the OpenSpace prerelease version 0.9.0 released in July 2017. Please note that the software is as-of-yet incomplete and may be unstable. The downloadable package (see above) contains all necessary data to run the application, but may require some additional installation. As of yet, only a Windows binary is available, but the source code is freely available on GitHub. The commit of this prerelease is 40599081d9ab9eda3a5364f0f6486ebc19406e64. In case of any questions or issues, send us an email or join our Slack support.


After installing and unzipping the package found here, the OpenSpace application is located in the bin folder. OpenSpace requires the installation of the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable package, which is included in the zip folder that you downloaded.


This package contains three scenes that are of interest, the GlobeBrowsing, New Horizons, and Rosetta scenes, described below. The scene can be selected by editing the openspace.cfg file, which is found in the base directory. In this file, the Scene parameter points to a *.scene file that is executed and defaults to the ${SCENE}/globebrowsing.scene. This can be changed to either ${SCENE}/newhorizons.scene or ${SCENE}/rosetta.scene before starting OpenSpace.

After the application has been started, F1 opens a menu through which features of the software are accessed. Notable settings in this menu are the Scene Graph Properties which control the individual elements of the loaded scene and the Origin that determines the object at which the camera is pointing. The details for each scene are described below. In each scene, the keys 10, Shift 1Shift 0, Ctrl 1Ctrl 0 determine the Delta Time, that is the time at which the in-game simulation runs compared to the real world speed. Space pauses and unpauses the time. The ` key opens an interactive Lua console through which detailed settings can be set, see the documentation/LuaScripting.html for a list of commands. The most important command is openspace.time.setTime, which takes a date and sets the internal time to this date, for example openspace.time.setTime("2017 AUG 27 10:00:00"). Also in all scenes, the left mouse button rotates the camera around the selected Origin, the right mouse button zooms in and out, and the middle mouse button rolls the camera. By pressing CTRL and using the left mouse button the object can be moved off the screen center. Pressing the F key, disable rotational friction, which will cause the camera to rotate around the object forever, whereas Shift+F performs the same operation for the zooming of the camera.

After starting OpenSpace with a specific scene, the documentation/KeyboardMapping.html file contains a list of all the available keyboard commands, including a short description.


This scene is enabled on default and provides the ability to look at detailed terrain models of Earth, the Moon, and Mars. The view defaults on Earth at the current date. The currently displayed terrain can be changed by opening the GUI (F1), selecting the Scene Graph Properties, navigating to Earth -> RenderableGlobe -> Layers -> ColorLayers. On default, the ESRI VIIRS Combo is enabled, which uses the Suomi VIIRS daily images when viewing the whole Earth, but switches to a high-detail image from ESRI when zooming in. A layer can be enabled by opening the tree view of the object and selecting the Enabled checkbox. Additional Overlays are also available.

These layers are also available on the Moon and Mars to which you can navigate using the Origin dropdown menu in the first GUI window.

On Mars, of special interest are the CTX Mosaic ColorLayers which are composite images of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s CTX instruments. These show a large area of Mars with 6 m per pixel resolution and are available for about 70% of the surface.

New Horizons

These scene shows the acquisition of New Horizons’ images of the Plutonian system in July 2015. The scene starts at around 10:00 on July 14th, around 10 minutes before a new image campaign starts. By selecting Pluto in the Origin dropdown menu in the GUI (F1) and moving time faster using the number keys, you can see the imprint of the instrument’s field-of-view on the planetary surface and see the images being projected. The images that you see are not aligned, since old positional information of the spacecraft is used to calculate these pictures. Newest information should be available to the general public soon and we will update OpenSpace accordingly.

In the top left part of the screen, a timer shows when the next image is being taken.

Additional keybindings:
A: Focus the camera on the New Horizons space craft
S: Focus the camera on Pluto
D: Focus the camera on Charon
L: Toggle the visibility of the labels of New Horizons’ instruments
T: Toggle the visibility of Pluto’s and Charon’s shadows
F8: Remove the already projected images from the surface
Keypad 8, Keypad 2: Increase and decrease the height exaggeration on Pluto to show the terrain structure
Keypad 9, Keypad 3: Increase and decrease the height exaggeration on Charon to show the terrain structure


The Rosetta scene shows the entire mission of ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft around the comet 67P. Also here, the spacecraft’s images are being projected onto the comet. In addition, the separation of the Philae lander is visible as well.

Additional keybindings:
A: Focus the camera on the 67P comet
S: Focus the camera on the Rosetta space craft
I: Toggle the visibility of the free-floating image plane
P: Toggles the image projection of Rosetta; useful if making long time jumps and not wanting to wait for the image projections to occur