NASA CosmosCode

A Free and Open Source Software
Development Site for the Space Community





Launching at the end of summer, 2007!
The program was launched quietly last year under NASA's CoLab entrepreneur outreach program, created by Robert Schingler, 28, and Jessy Cowan-Sharp, 25, of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. Members of the CosmosCode group have been meeting in Second Life and will open the program to the public in the coming weeks, organizers said.
Young Scientists Design Open-Source Program at NASA

By Aaron Rowe

April 9, 2007

NASA scientists plan to announce a new open-source project this month called CosmosCode -- it's aimed at recruiting volunteers to write code for live space missions, Wired News has learned.

The program was launched quietly last year under NASA's CoLab entrepreneur outreach program, created by Robert Schingler, 28, and Jessy Cowan-Sharp, 25, of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. Members of the CosmosCode group have been meeting in Second Life and will open the program to the public in the coming weeks, organizers said.

"CosmosCode is ... allowing NASA scientists to begin a software project in the public domain, leveraging the true value of open-source software by creating an active community of volunteers," said Cowan-Sharp, a NASA contractor.

CosmosCode is indicative of a larger shift at NASA toward openness and transparency -- things for which complex and bureaucratic government labs are not known. The software project is part of CoLab, an effort to invite the public to help NASA scientists with various engineering problems. The space agency is also digging into its files from previous missions and releasing code that until now remained behind closed doors. Together, these projects are creating a sort of SourceForge for space.

"CoLab is building an infrastructure to encourage and facilitate direct participation from the talented and interested public in NASA's projects and programs," said Schingler, the NASA CoLab project manager.

NASA has already released more than 20 open-source software titles, including World Wind, a 3-D virtual globe similar to Google Earth, and Vision Workbench, a framework for computer vision applications.

Organizers of CosmosCode will create a wish list of software, which could include applications such as mission-design and flight software, Schingler said.

"CosmosCode certainly could be a big deal," said David Boswell, a CoLab volunteer and co-founder of mozdev.org. "NASA has a lot of software already released under their NASA Open Source Agreement license and there are other developers outside of NASA interested in working on space software projects."

Cowan-Sharp and Schingler hold regular meetings at Space CoLab Island in Second Life, where about 15 people typically participate, ranging from a doctoral student in public affairs to a retired bookstore owner.

Residents can convene conferences and collaborations, and the island has spaces for building and scripting objects, Schingler said. Eventually he hopes residents will use the virtual environment to test their data in real time and conduct scientific activities directly relevant to the space program.

CoLab will man a booth at Yuri's Night, a party for spaceflight enthusiasts in a hangar at NASA Ames on April 13. Camden Mitchell, a CoLab volunteer and information technology student in Wales, is coordinating a parallel Yuri's Night celebration in Second Life.

Share USB over Ethernet and access USB device from anywhere anytime . Use the links below to learn about writing application essays help service is the best.

In the meantime, please visit the CosmosCode informational page here to find out more and sign up for the email lists.