Article: NASA’s next lunar rover will run open-source software

Code, Hardware, Open Manufacturing, Open Software, Open Source

NASA’s next lunar rover will run open-source software

In 2023, NASA will launch VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover), which that will trek across the surface of the moon and hunt for water ice that could one day be used to make rocket fuel. The rover will be armed with the best instruments and tools that NASA can come up with: wheels that can spin properly on lunar soil, a drill that’s able to dig into extraterrestrial geology, hardware that can survive 14 days of a lunar night when temperatures sink to ˗173 °C.

But while much of VIPER is one of a kind, custom-made for the mission, much of the software that it’s running is open-source, meaning it’s available for use, modification, and distribution by anyone for any purpose. If it’s successful, the mission may be about more than just laying the groundwork for a future lunar colony—it may also be an inflection point that causes the space industry to think differently about how it develops and operates robots.

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Article: SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Open MCT

Code, Free, Libre, Open Software, Open Source

SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Open MCT

The Open Mission Control Technologies (Open MCT) is NASA’s open-source project for mission control software. It was developed at NASA’s Ames Research Center in collaboration with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a next-generation mission control framework for data visualization.

NASA currently uses it for data analysis on spacecraft missions, and to support the development of lunar rover mission concepts. According to NASA, it provides integrated situational awareness, health monitoring, and telemetry display.

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Article: The not-so-secret value of sharing commercial geospatial and open-source information

Geospatial, Open Data, Open Source

The not-so-secret value of sharing commercial geospatial and open-source information

Two years ago, reports surfaced that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was detaining hundreds of thousands of China’s Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in so-called “re-education” camps. Chinese authorities initially denied the existence of these camps until human rights organizations and media sources provided indisputable evidence that they do exist.

Discovering human rights abuses such as this would be nearly impossible without access to commercial geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) provided by satellite imagery that established visual evidence of the camps. Beyond the discovery of the camps, GEOINT also provided the ability to track developments at the camps by comparing images taken over time.

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