NASA’s Code Laid BareBy: Zach Walton - January 18, 2012
NASA’s code has now gone open source – cue homebrew rocket ships.
Open source development is a great thing. With NASA opening a new open source software-dedicated Web site, it allows street coders to access and improve the source code that NASA is working on. This can lead to new discoveries that the professional engineers at NASA could possibly never think of.
In 2009, the White House issued the Open Government Directive, which required federal agencies to achieve milestones while keeping their business transparent. NASA’s plan has been one of the best. They were even among those who received awards for going above and beyond hte call of duty in the “Participation and Collaboration” and “Flagship Initiatives” categories of the Open Government Directive.
“The site represents a natural extension of NASA’s efforts to inform, educate and include the public in our mission to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research,” Deborah Diaz, NASA’s Deputy Chief Information Officer, said. “Citizen involvement in our work is a critical component of our success.”
NASA Open Government launched the Web site as part of its Open Source Software Flagship Initiative. The goal is to showcase existing projects, provide a forum for discussion and guiding internal and external groups in open development, release and contribution.
“We released the site on January 4 and since have received an overwhelming response from people interested in using our code,” Nick Skytland, Program Manager of NASA’s Open Government Initiative, said. “Our goal is to provide the public direct and ongoing access to NASA technology.”
William Eshagh, NASA Open Government co-lead on the project at NASA’s Ames Research Center believes that the future of their space program will be built in the open with the help of the public working on their open source code.
For those who want to take a crack at NASA’s code, you can check it out here.