NASA taking open source into space

NASA is building an open-source project to collaborate on space exploration. Clearly there are no limits to open source.

Open source is such a natural for government agencies, it should come as no surprise that NASA is now developing an open-source project called CosmosCode. The goal? "To provide a common access point for individuals, academics, companies, and space agencies around the world using, contributing to, or supporting re-usable, modular, extensible, or standards driven space exploration software.

It's a great way to combine the private and public sectors to break new ground in space exploration, perhaps leaning toward the type of model that John Lilly describes in a recent post about hybrid projects that exist for profit (money) and profit (community). Two goals of the project suggest this:

  1. Explore the cost-benefit of leveraging the free and open source development process for projects that normally costs millions of dollars in development and testing;
  2. Open a door to our silicon valley neighbors and encourage private industry to create products and services which leverage and extend NASA's investments, extending their applicability and relevance to the commercial sector....

It sounds very cool. Given Google's past work with NASA, I'm assuming it will be involved. It will be interesting to see who else joins in.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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