Everyone has probably day-dreamed of launching a space-ship from their backyard at some point. Well, now that NASA plans to release over a thousand of its software systems into the public domain, your idle musings could become a reality. On April 10th, the outfit is dropping a ton of free code for things like life support systems, aeronautics and, as Wired reports, even cryogenics, online for your perusal. This is an extension of what it’s been doing with its technology transfer program for the last 50 years.
Forty years after Apollo 11 landed on the moon, NASA open sourced the software code that ran the guidance systems on the lunar module. By that time, the code was little more than a novelty. But in recent years, the space agency has built all sorts of other software that is still on the cutting edge. And as it turns out, like the Apollo 11 code, much of this NASA software is available for public use, meaning anyone can download it and run it and adapt it for free. You can even use it in commercial products. But don’t take our word for it. Next Thursday, NASA will release a master list of software projects it has cooked up over the years. This is more than just stuff than runs on a personal computer. Think robots and cryogenic systems and climate simulators. There’s even code for running rocket guidance systems.