David Boswell just published an article on the O’Reilly Network about the use of open source software in space exploration. It’s a high level look at the area, and ranges from the involvement of internet moguls in new space ventures to the use of Linux in new space vehicles, to the various tools for interacting with some of the massive amounts of data available from space activities.
There are lots of useful links (plus more in the comments both directly on the article and in the slashdot thread that it spawned.
As someone who grew up on a diet of science fiction, it’s wonderful to see the resurgence of interest in space. What’s especially important is that we’re getting out of the era of government-only space exploration, and back into the world where people like us can engage and make a difference. At the end of the NY Times artice on DIY-outreach by NASA that I linked to earlier, Gregg E. Maryniak, the head of the X Prize Foundation is quoted saying: “Look, a hundred years ago, a couple of pesky bike mechanics from Dayton, Ohio, bested, in effect, the government-funded player, to become the first to fly. That’s why you put on these things: to attract the bicycle mechanics.”