Houston, we have open-source code.
NASA recently announced that it will open up parts of its vast catalog of software projects for use by the public, delivering on earlier promises to improve the federal government's open-source initiatives.
NASA will begin to release the code on April 11. But according to Wired, some of the code is available only to select people:
This NASA software catalog will list more than 1,000 projects, and it will show you how to actually obtain the code you want. The idea to help hackers and entrepreneurs push these ideas in new directions — and help them dream up new ideas. Some code is only available to certain people — the rocket guidance system, for instance — but if you can get it, you can use it without paying royalties or copyright fees.”
NASA has already released numerous projects on its own site, but other collections of code have been distributed across the Internet on sites such as GitHub and SourceForge.
The upcoming release won't be the end of NASA's open-source efforts. In 2011, President Obama tasked federal agencies with expediting the transfer of source code to the public, and NASA intends to follow through with that order. The agency plans to make additional contributions to the open-source community, in part because of how useful the code dissemination has proved to be.
As David Lockney, the technology transfer program executive in NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist, told Wired, "Our design software has been used to make everything from guitars to roller coasters to Cadillacs. 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."
So if you find the love of your life over the Internet, you may owe NASA a little recognition.