With Code.Nasa.Gov, Agency Steps Up Hunt for Its Open-Source Software Projects

Nick Judd | Tech President | January 17, 2012

Over time, NASA releases data from Kepler — an unprecedented look at our universe, other planets and star systems — on a decidedly terrestrial web portal, data.nasa.gov. It's part of a broader effort at NASA to make the agency's work more accessible, which is itself part of the Obama administration's promise to make government more open.

Not everyone agrees that the Obama White House has done everything around open government that it said it would do. But earlier this month, NASA lengthened the list of things that federal agencies could do. In addition to releasing data, like those that are gleaned from the Kepler space observatory, NASA launched code.nasa.gov, a central repository intended to eventually link out to every last open-source project maintained by people within the U.S. space agency.

"We are a very distributed agency, we have people working at 10 field centers across the country," said Sean Herron, who maintains code.nasa.gov, in a phone conversation today. "A lot of the time, open source software across the agency can be reused for other means...