Frequently Asked Questions
Last Updated: April 25, 1997
PC Special Edition
1. Who has used the SIR-CED materials?
We have distributed over 7,000 copies of the first version of this CD-ROM
(SIRCED01) to educators
teaching at middle school, high school and college undergraduate level. We have
received samples of SIR-CED projects done by students in grades as low as 5 to
7 and positive feedback from many other teachers who have used the SIR-CED
materials in the classroom. From phone calls, e-mails, and faxes sent in to us
by people who have used the first disk, we have compiled this list of
frequently asked questions.
The first SIR-CED CD-ROM has also been used to teach college-level
undergraduates, particularly those taking non-science majors, and by engineers
and scientists with an interest in radar imaging, but who are not necessarily
imaging radar specialists.
A second version of this CD-ROM (SIRCED02) was produced for Macintosh-only
computers and a similar number was distributed (approximately 7,000 copies).
There was demand to make this CD available on other platforms.
So another version of the SIRCED02 CD-ROM was created and is called
SIRCED03, PC Special Edition. This CD was made especially
for PC computers but it is also readable on Macintosh and Unix platforms.
2. How is this CD (SIRCED03) different
from your earlier CD (SIRCED01)?
SIRCED03 is a post-launch look at the same areas of the Earth
covered by our pre-launch CD (SIRCED01), with a lot more new sites
added. Most of the features from our first CD (SIRCED01) can be
found on the second CD. For example, you'll find the pre-SIRC
launch data from the first CD in directories labeled PreSIRC for those
sites where that data was available.
There are actually two different versions of the post-launch CD.
One is a Macintosh-only CD (SIRCED02) and the other is for
PC computers (SIRCED03, PC Special Edition).
The PC version of the CD can also be read by Macintoshes and Unix
The PC Special Edition CD has vastly improved HTML pages,
both in content and aesthetically. It is now much easier to move around
and understand the information on the CD. There are new radar pictures
included on this CD which were not available before.
The PC Special Edition CD can also be read by
Macintosh and Unix platforms.
For a more detailed
description of SIRCED03, PC Special Edition, see
How Do I Use The CD?
3. How do I use the Lesson Plans?
Use the Lesson Guide sheets as handouts for your students or use the
overhead slides to prompt classroom discussion. The Lesson Guides work
best when combined with the overhead slides so that students
learn a little (from the teacher presenting the
slides), then think a little (by going over the Lesson Guide materials).
You can also supplement your classroom presentations with
materials from the Teacher's Guide.
Select the materials that you think will work best for your class. This
will depend on their grade level, ability and what kind of computer
equipment is available in your classroom. In the one-computer
classroom, try to do the computer exercises as a joint class effort,
with students guiding your hand (or mouse). If you have a computer
lab, have the students copy the data and/or software
they will use for any one lesson onto their own disk.
This makes finding files a lot easier.
There's an easy way to use the lessons on SIRCED03. The directory
contains all the HTML files used in the lesson plans, divided up
into 5 modules. The directory for each module contains the lessons,
presentation materials and Teacher's Guide for that module.
You may access these files through
a top level HTML directory.
4. How can I print the Lesson Plans?
All lesson plans have been converted to HTML format and can be
viewed by any World Wide Web browser like Netscape.
You may print the lesson plans through Netscape. Select the
File | Print... menu commands to print the current document
that is displayed.
5. How do I find my way around the Teacher's Guide documents on the
A Table of Contents
can be found in the file
/DOCUMENT/HTML/TEACHERS/CONTENTS.HTM. There are similar
files in the /DOCUMENT/HTML/LESSONS and /DOCUMENT/HTML/SLIDES directories.
The Teacher's Guide
is divided up into an introduction and five
modules. Each module is
divided further into sections.
For example, module 1, section B introduces the
idea of viewing the Earth from space. This material can be found in the file
MOD1SECB.HTM which is contained in the directory
6. There's a lot of stuff on the CD-ROM.
Am I expected to go through all of it?
No. Pick and choose the things you want to use and tailor the materials
to the capabilities of your class. The Teacher's Guide is meant as a reference
book, not a text book, and should be used by the teacher to get up to speed on
imaging radar and SIR-C and as a source book to answer student's questions.
Only the images in the directory
/DATA/MODS1TO5 are meant to be seen by all students.
The images in other directories are provided for the
independent projects described in module 5.
7. How do I open files on the SIRCED03 disk?
There are six types of files on SIRCED03 with the following file extensions:
.htm, .gif, .stk, .txt, .mov, .pic
Files ending in .htm or .gif can be opened from Netscape.
Files ending in .stk can be opened from within the
application Sigma0 which is included on SIRCED03 in the
/SOFTWARE directory. See
How Do I Use The Sigma0 Program?
for more information.
Files ending in .txt are plain ASCII text files and can be
read from Netscape. The files contain just raw text.
Files ending in .mov can be played by the Quicktime movie player.
Files ending in .pic can be displayed by the Picture Viewer program
which is part of the Quicktime movie package.
8. (Macintosh Only) I get an error message when
I click on some of the
aliases on the CD. What's the problem?
On some demo versions of this CD, we could not get all of the
aliases which help you navigate around the directories
and files to work. We found that this problem went away on
machines that had Quicktime 2.0 in their extension
directories (we don't know why!) If the aliases don't
work on your machine, try installing Quicktime 2.0,
which can be obtained from most Mac dealerships.
Alternatively, use the Get Info option (under the File menu)
to find out which original file or directory the alias is
pointing to. Sorry, but we could not provide Quicktime 2.0
on the CD due to licensing problems.
9. (Macintosh Only) When I try to run the NIH Image program
(e.g. by double-clicking on a
.pic file) I get a message telling me my
Macintosh does not have a
floating-point unit. What should I do?
SIRCED03 contains the newer NIH Image version 1.61b7 which should run
for both the Power PC and for 68k machines.
10. (Macintosh Only) How do I learn more about the
Image Display software?
User manuals are provided for the software in the
Software directory. You'll find
them in the same directories as the software itself. These manuals can be
read using Microsoft Word or a similar word processing program.
11. (Macintosh Only) When using the Macintosh display
programs, I often get messages telling
me I'm out of memory. What should I do?
Memory management for the Macintosh programs is discussed in the Teachers
12. We only have one CD drive at my school. How can I use the SIR-CED
material on the CDs in my classroom?
The majority of the files on the SIR-CED CD-ROMs are less than 1.4 MBytes
in size. This was deliberately done so that files (text, images, programs)
could be copied onto floppy disks without too much difficulty
(the exception to this is the movie files).
If you only have one CD-drive,
you have several options:
- Use an overhead projector and a Liquid Crystal Display connected to the
computer or a computer hook-up to a large TV screen with the CD drive to
display the images, etc. in class.
- If you have a classroom where several computers are connected by a
area network using a server, place the files you want to use in a
directory on the
server which can be accessed by all the computers on the network.
- Copy the files you want to use off the CD onto floppy disks and then copy
those files over to each machine in the classroom.
13. We don't have a CD-ROM drive at all in my school. What should we
Buy one if you can. Using CD-ROM technology is the best
way to get hold of large volumes of data (the Internet is still too
slow for most users and will be for the foreseeable future).
Most new computers come with CD-ROM drives these days and
CD-ROM drives have been offered for as little as $100 in computer
If you can't get a CD-ROM drive but you have an Internet connection, you can
access some of our educational materials developed for the SIR-CED program
through our World Wide Web site, the NASA/JPL Imaging Radar Home Page,
located at URL:
14.We use PC's at my school. How do I
display the images on the SIR-CED
This version of the CD was prepared especially for the IBM-PC and
compatible computers. You should have no problem displaying the
images once the included software is properly installed.
For more information on hardware and software requirements, see
How Do I Use The CD?
For information on the software included with the CD, see
Included Software in the
SIR-C CD-ROM 3, PC Special Edition.
15.Where can I find out more?
We have set up a companion World Wide Web server site to this
which you can access using Netscape or NCSA's Mosaic browse
program. You will find more information about NASA/JPL's imaging
radar program there, as well as the latest images, sample data,
information on software availability and updates on the SIR-CED
NASA has also set up a wonderful World Wide Web site for
students and educators called Spacelink, which brings together all
of NASA's educational material at one site. The URL is:
16. Were there any educational activities
during the SIR-C flights?
Yes. Some schools took part in ground data collection activities at the
SIR-C supersites in the USA. Unfortunately, only a very few students
can benefit from this experience. To reach a wider audience, during
each SIR-C flight and after, examples of the latest greatest results,
including images, were posted to the JPL FTP site
(jplinfo.jpl.nasa.gov or 220.127.116.11). NASA Select television
broadcast live coverage of both flights and some of these broadcasts
are occasionally repeated. For schools that have satellite dishes,
satellite transmission will be on Spacenet 2, transponder 5,
located at 69 degrees West with horizontal polarization.
Broadcast frequency will be 3880.0 Megahertz, audio on 6.8
Megahertz. Some cable companies also carry NASA Select as part of
their educational programming.
17. Do you plan to produce any more CD's?
Other than this PC Special Edition CD, the answer is no.
SIRCED03 is the last SIR-CED CD-ROM for now,
although JPL will certainly
produce more educational CDs in the future,
based around different projects and
18. Where can I get hold of more copies of the SIR-CED CD's?
You may order individual CD-ROMs (currently $12) or
the CD-ROM, together with a hard copy of the Teacher's Guide
and Lesson Plans,
and a collection of videos concerning SIR-C, are also being
distributed for a
minimal fee (currently $38) by:
NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, Ohio 44074
Tel: (216) 774-1051 (ext. 249 or 293)
Fax: (216) 774-2144
19.Do you want any feedback from people
who have used your CD's?
Print out this questionaire,
fill it in and fax
it back to us or send us feedback electronically through our
World Wide Web site.