I’ve always wanted to build my own satellite orbiting software…
Space is vast, but the world of space exploration is about to get a lot more open…sourced. NASA has officially decided to release all of its software code for all of its missions and projects to the open source community, allowing the public to take them, mold them and use them as they see fit. This. Is. Awesome.
Next Thursday, NASA is going to open up its database master list and allow the public free access to the software codes that powered such historic missions like Apollo 11, Apollo 13 and others. It doesn’t stop there, either. This ain’t your mama’s open source database, this is NASA’s. So when they say “projects”, they mean ALL of their projects.
The software that NASA produces during their projects range from cryogenic systems, robots, missiles, and even animal tracking for conservation efforts, and people will have access to it all. Did you know that the code that keeps the Hubble Telescope’s operations in order has also been used in algorithms on dating sites? Yeah, NASA is everywhere.
Now, regular people aren’t going to have access to some codes—for instance, they’re not going to give out information that guides missiles or how to build a rocket (because the last thing we need is somebody in Alabama building a rocket in their backyard swamp)—as those are saved for a few authorized people. However, pretty much everything else is up for grabs and you can use it without worrying about copyright fees.
This plan is part of a larger initiative by the government and President Obama to allow for faster technology transfers; they want the codes and software they write to be free to everyone to promote advancement in tech and this is definitely a way to do it. Releasing these codes into the open source community allows coders, hackers and developers to take this software and use it to not only advance their own products, but possibly advance tech as a whole.
Hopefully, this will open up people’s eyes to the need for programs like NASA and their contributions to not just the world of space, but to technology and humanity as a whole.