Release date: 
Saturday, 4 June, 2016

Authors/Port authors:

Xplanet is a solar system simulator which calculates accurate positions for the major planets and satellites (natural and artificial) and generate images rich of features based on the NASA SPICE Toolkit.

Xplanet was inspired by Xearth, which renders an image of the earth into the X root window.

All of the major planets and most satellites can be drawn, similar to the program "Solar System Simulator". A number of different map projections are also supported, including azimuthal, Lambert, Mercator, Mollweide, orthographic, and rectangular.

For fun, it is normally used to create computer wallpapers, which may be updated with the latest cloud maps or the regions of Earth which are in sunlight (this is one of the features of the program: monitoring at regular intervals planetary activities or related), but its usefulness goes far beyond: Xplanet is based on NASA SPICE Toolkit which manage NASA SPICE System  and NAIF (NASA's Navigation and Ancillary Information Facility).

The NASA Spice system is an ancillary information system that provides scientists and engineers the capability to include space geometry and event data into mission design, science observation planning, and science data analysis software.

The principle components of the SPICE system are SPICE Toolkit software and SPICE data files-often called "kernels". SPICE is used throughout NASA and within many other U.S. and international agencies for organizing, distributing, and accessing ancillary data associated with space science missions.

The NAIF website contains the few important rules regarding using SPICE. Xplanet generates images using this data, so, more data kernels you provide, more precision you get on output.

Xplanet can also be configured to update automatically from Internet the required data for analysis (for example to monitor location satellite).

Another important activity that directly involves Xplanet and the SPICE Toolkit is the monitoring of weather phenomena, earthquakes, volcanic activity, hurricanes and really much more (simply pass to Xplanet the right data): indeed, using the most appropriate data, Xplanet allows complex hypothetical analysis, maps, statistics and studies, mandatory for scientific research!



This software is distributed as compressed package. You have to download and manually install it; if prerequisites are required, you will have to manually install them too.

Manual installation

Program is distributed as ZIP package: download to temporary directory and unpack to destination folder. See below for download link(s). Read the included readme.os2 file.

To install prerequisites it is strongly suggested using the YUM/RPM system. Download the NASA SPICE kernels you need from the NASA project Spice System site to process your analysis.

A desktop walpaper changer, like i.e. Wally, is optional for monitoryng, or you can simply redirect/pipe your output to a picture viewer, or, better, you can use the BITMAP.CMD rexx script, by Jack Tan, adapted to Xplanet, reported for convenience, including changes:

/* BITMAP.CMD:  change the desktop bitmap at regular intervals
   Syntax:  BITMAP.CMD <location> <interval in seconds> [/?]
   Copyright 1994 Jack Tan */
/* Check the interval value */
     arg location interval
     if interval=="" | WORDPOS("/?", interval)<>0 then do
          SAY "   BITMAP.CMD:  randomly change the desktop bitmap at",
              "periodic intervals"
          SAY "   Syntax:  BITMAP.CMD <location> <interval in seconds> [/?]"
          SAY "   <location> is the full path to Xplanet images;"
          SAY "   <interval> is the interval between bitmap changes,",
              "in seconds."
          exit 1
     end  /* Do */
     else if DATATYPE(interval, "Whole Number")<>1 then
          call badNumber interval
     else if interval<=0 then
          call badNumber interval
/* Prepare for the changes */
     signal on halt name exitProgram
     BitmapSpec = BootDrive || "\OS2\BITMAP\*.BMP" */
     BitmapSpec = location || "\*.*"
     call RxFuncAdd "SysLoadFuncs", "RexxUtil", "SysLoadFuncs"
     call SysLoadFuncs
     SAY "BITMAP.CMD:  Hit Ctrl+Break to exit"
/* Execute the change */
     do forever
          call SysFileTree BitmapSpec, "bitmaps", "FO"
          if bitmaps.0>0 then do
               i = RANDOM(1, bitmaps.0)
               call SysSetObjectData "<WP_DESKTOP>", "BACKGROUND="bitmaps.i","
          end  /* Do */
          call SysSleep interval
     end /* Do */
     SAY "             Successfully exited"
     exit 0
badNumber: procedure
     SAY "Bad interval value '"ARG(1)"'"
     exit 2

You can install the prerequisites with rpm running the following string in a command line:

yum install libc libssp libgcc1 libgcc-fwd libstdc++6 libsupc++6 libjpeg libtiff urpo gettext libpng pthread zlib freetype pango glib2
Record updated last time on: Mon, 21/08/2017 - 20:42


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