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January 8, 2012 4:11 PM   Subscribe

Today, NASA goes open source with its code, joining endeavours such as SpaceHack [previously], WorldWind and (for more worldly coders) Github, GoogleCode, and the venerable SourceForge.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (11 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Where's the code that lets me get Congress out of NASA's hair?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:16 PM on January 8, 2012


Does this mean we can fix a bug and then claim to be smarter than a rocket scientist?
posted by -harlequin- at 4:18 PM on January 8, 2012


Does this mean we can fix a bug and then claim to be smarter than a rocket scientist?

While the Apollo 14 Lunar Module was orbiting the moon, preparing to land, a faulty switch was sending a signal to the computer, which would have forced an abort as the lander descended. Mission Control pulled in a programmer, Don Eyles, to patch the software to ignore that error code.

He did it, they ran it through a simulator to make sure nothing horribly break and then sent the instructions to lander. Hurray, the astronauts begin their descent to the moon.

Not so fast. That patch caused another error, resulting in the navigation computer to fail to lock onto the moon's surface. Keep in mind, the Lunar Module is in the middle of descending to the surface, there are only minutes left before it reaches the point where mission rules say the astronauts have to abort. After the repeating cycling a breaker the computer finally started behaving, enabling the mission to continue.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:39 PM on January 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Okay, but they’ve been releasing code to the public domain for decades. For instance, I worked with CLIPS in the late 80s.
posted by davel at 5:22 PM on January 8, 2012


A coworker of mine built a pretty neat project on top of WorldWind. It looks sweet.

Does this mean we can fix a bug and then claim to be smarter than a rocket scientist?

I know some rocket scientists. I don't know you, but you aren't smarter than them. However, you could easily be a better programmer than them. I've found that scientists are usually (not always, but usually) terrible programmers. For that matter, so are a good percentage of programmers.
posted by DU at 6:13 PM on January 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Where's the code that lets me get Congress out of NASA's hair?
--- constitution.txt	2012-01-08 21:47:22.000000000 -0500
+++ constitution_updated.txt	2012-01-08 21:51:07.000000000 -0500
@@ -18,8 +18,10 @@
 one State, be obliged to enter, clear or pay Duties in another.
 
 No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations
-made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and
-Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
+made by Law, except for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which
+shall be funded at two per cent of the gross domestic product; and a regular
+Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall
+be published from time to time.
 
 No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person
 holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of

posted by kiltedtaco at 6:54 PM on January 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm confused about the links here. NASA getting a unified face on the opensource issue is cool, but the other links make me go "huh, why is this here?" GitHub and SourceForge are communities for sharing mostly-opensource code that have very little to do with this announcement. WorldWind is a NASA-originated open source project that's been around for at least four years. SpaceHack (which I have no prior knowledge of) looks like a community centered around data analysis?
posted by Alterscape at 6:58 PM on January 8, 2012


I see millions of .f77 files.
posted by scruss at 7:49 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


HACK THE MOON
posted by klangklangston at 10:04 PM on January 8, 2012


constitution_updated.txt

Many of the rules that define Washington are closed-source proprietary software.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:05 PM on January 8, 2012


I thought the link to 'Random Hack of Kindness' was pretty cool. (NASA is an original sponsor, apparently.)
posted by newdaddy at 2:09 PM on January 9, 2012


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