NASA Gives Away Free Code. Build Your Own Space Rocket and ? Fly Me To The Moon ?
?Fly me to the moon
And let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars?
Yes, I am a big Sinatra fan (I just might be giving away my age here) but these lines from the classic hit written by Bart Howard ( originally written as ?In Other Words?) may just be on everyone’s lips as NASA makes it possible for ?almost anyone? to build themselves a space rocket to fly to the moon.
This song, incidentally, was used as a sort of ?theme song? by the Apollo 11 Moon Expedition. Stories tell of how the Apollo 10 mission played a recording of the Frank Sinatra version while it was orbiting the moon. It also has the distinction of being the 1st music ever to be played on the moon when Buzz Aldrin played it on a portable cassette tape player as he stepped on the lunar surface.
40 years after the first steps on the moon were made by the Apollo 11 team, NASA has decided to release the source code that operated the guidance system on the lunar spacecraft.
Of course, many consider the original code as just some sort of novelty at this modern age of complex computer codes.
However, it has been noted that NASA has continued to create cutting edge software based on the original lunar code. Which means that any programmer or developer can now download the original code for free and build on it in the same way the space agency has.
And there is more.
Aside from the Apollo 11 code, NASA will also release other software codes and projects, and anyone can utilize it even for commercial applications.
NASA announced that sometime next week, they will be releasing a master list of the data that they will classify as open source. Sources say that included in these project codes are not just space exploration and rocket guidance codes, but may include climate simulators, cryogenic projects and robotic systems.
The NASA catalog of software codes is said to contain over 1,000 projects and reports say that the catalog makes it easy for even non-scientific personnel to understand and utilize the codes.
Not all codes though will be open to just about everyone.
Stuff like the rocket guidance system codes will be made available to people who are ?security cleared? to use such information.
NASA said that those who are allowed to use such codes will not be required to pay any royalty or fees to NASA.
This move by the space agency is said to be part of the attempts by the Obama administration to make the federal government more transparent and to foster cooperation between the government and private enterprise to promote technical innovation and development.
Even before the release dates, a number of groups have already benefitted from the R&D data in the NASA vaults.
Algorithms used in the Hubble Space Telescope were modified by a group of marine biologists in 2005 to identify and track whale sharks. The same software has since been used to monitor sunfish in the Galapagos islands as well as polar bears in the arctic.
An executive of NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist, Daniel Lockney, explains that ?About a third of everything we invent ends up being software these days.?
He adds that ?Our design software has been used to make everything from guitars to roller coasters to Cadillac…..Scheduling software that keeps the Hubble Space Telescope operations straight has been used for scheduling MRIs at busy hospitals and as control algorithms for online dating services.?
Photo Source: NASA
“Fly Me to the Moon”, originally titled “In Other Words”, is a popular song written in 1954 by?Bart Howard?which has become a frequently recorded?jazz standard?often featured in popular culture.