NASA Launches Open Source Portal

NASA LogoNASA’s that place you may always have wanted to work. But if you don’t have the right stuff to become an astronaut, there’s another way in.

This week, the agency added to to its open.nasa family of websites as a way to centralize and promote its open source projects. The open.nasa site is a catalog of open data launched last August.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, writing at ZDNet, says he wrote code for NASA in the ’80s, but its projects were never well organized. The projects were merely a means to an end.

William Eshagh, one of the blog authors, says of the new site:.

We hope to lower the barriers to building open technology in partnership with the public.

Eshagh says phase one of the site is to create “a home for the current state of open source” at NASA, including points of contact and a directory of existing projects. The second phase will concentrate on “providing a robust forum for ongoing discussion of open source concepts, policies, and projects at the agency.” Phase three will focus on version control, issue tracking, documentation, planning and management.

During this phase, we will create and host a tool, service, and process chain to further lower the burden to going open.

Vaughan-Nichols writes that NASA has a  long history of open source development that became important to the wider world.

Of course, like contributing to any open source community, any work you do for NASA would be for free and on your own time. But since, as many have pointed out, code is the new resume, it would certainly look good to potential employers.

If, on the other hand, you do have what it takes to become an astronaut, NASA’s taking applications through Jan. 27.