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News Release 540 of 951

October 23, 2001 10:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2001-36

AURA's OPUS Software Licensed to Celera Genomics

October 23, 2001: The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) has reached an agreement with Celera Genomics Group, an Applera Corporation business in Rockville, MD, on the use of AURA's Operational Pipeline Unified Systems (OPUS) software package. Originally designed for use in the Hubble Space Telescope program, OPUS is being used by Celera to process bioinformatics data. OPUS was developed by the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is managed by AURA under contract with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. It is used to process astronomical data generated by the Hubble Space Telescope for use by researchers studying the universe, and it has been widely employed in other space observatories and NASA projects. Facing similar needs for the use of their large databases, Celera is licensing OPUS from AURA to assist in the processing of data from their proteomics and genomics projects.

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Q & A: Understanding the Discovery

  1. 1. What is OPUS and how does it help the Hubble Space Telescope?

  2. OPUS stands for "Operational Pipeline Unified Systems". It is a software package originally developed and designed by the Space Telescope Science Institute for use in the Hubble Space Telescope program. The software package allows engineers at the Institute to reduce data taken by the telescope and guide it through a processing pipeline which converts raw information into something useful to astronomers. This makes the OPUS software vital to the day-to-day operations of the Hubble Space Telescope. The OPUS software has been used in other space observatories and NASA projects.

  3. 2. How is OPUS being used to help the Celera Genomics company for gene research?

  4. OPUS is being used by the Celera Genomics Group to process bioinformatics data. The Celera Genomics Group is a definitive source of genomic and related medical information that provides the genetic blueprint information on many organisms to other researchers in the biomedical world. Similar to large astronomical databases, the database of information to house genetic code is quite immense and requires careful handling due to the vast amount of content. Celera is licensing OPUS to assist in the processing and storage of data from their genomics projects. This is a great example of how engineering work in the space program can be shared and have a practical benefit to diverse enterprises such as biological research, medicine, and industry.

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Science Credit: Steven Beckwith (STScI/AURA) and John Reynders (Celera)

Acknowledgment: Photo courtesy of Celera Genomics