NASA Gives Away Rocket Code - For Dads
NASA is planning on giving away a big pile of its latest and greatest code - a software catalog with more than 1,000 projects ranging from robots and cryogenic systems and climate simulators to rocket guidance systems.
Already, NASA software has been used to do some pretty amazing stuff outside the agency. In 2005, marine biologists adapted the Hubble Space Telescope’s star-mapping algorithm to track and identify endangered whale sharks. That software has now been adapted to track polar bears in the arctic and sunfish in the Galapagos Islands. “Our design software has been used to make everything from guitars to roller coasters to Cadillacs,” Lockney says. “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.”
All of the software that NASA writes is copyright free, and although the aforementioned rocket guidance system code and other software may be too sensitive to share, many other projects can be shared with anyone — in theory, at least. If the NASA software isn’t open-source, you need to get cleared by the space agency for a release. Sometimes, this is as simple as proving that you’re a U.S. citizen and signing a usage agreement.
Maybe you could build some kind of a rocket. Like Fiorello Bodoni, in Ray Bradbury's classic tale The Rocket:
I prefer the rockets myself," said old Bramante. "I was a boy when they started. Eighty years ago, and I've never been on one yet."
"I will ride up in one someday," said Bodoni.
"Fool!" cried Bramante. "You'll never go. This is a rich man's world." He shook his gray head, remembering. "When I was young they wrote it in fiery letters: THE WORLD OF THE FUTURE! Science, Comfort, and New Things for All! Ha! Eighty years. The Future becomes Now! Do we fly rockets'? No! We live in shacks like our ancestors before us."
"Perhaps my sons -" said Bodoni.
"No, nor their sons!" the old man shouted. "It's the rich who have dreams and rockets!"
Find out how Bodoni gave his children their dreams; the rest of this beautiful short story is online here.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/4/2014)
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