NASA has had quite some movement in the tekkie world over the last couple of months.
NASA Switches International Space Station’s Computer System to Linux
As of March, NASA began to prepare their international space station with a migration to Linux from their Windows XP. As of earlier this May this seemed to take root, as numerous blogs have written about his transition. Some computers will be running on Debian 6, some on Red Hat and some on Scientific Linux. This shouldn’t be a surprise as the scientific world has long taken a shining to Linux systems. Case in point: CERN’s Large Hadron Collider is controlled by Linux. NASA and SpaceX ground stations use Linux. DNA-sequencing lab technicians use Linux. Evidently, there’s an impression of increased stability when using Linux over Windows.
Personally, while I largely agree how powerful Linux is, I’m not one to ditch Windows just yet. As a geek that owns and operates computer systems running Windows XP, Windows 7, Ubuntu and MAC OSX, I find that Windows has made some significant strides with their Windows 7 release (Windows 8 I feel is a disaster, sort of a new Windows Vista – experiment early, roll out early, fix the mistakes in the next model). Also, more programs run on Windows than any other operating system, including MAC OSX. As much as we all love to hate Microsoft, their desktop and network infrastructure is among the best out there fore serious businesses.
Being that the people at NASA are far from stupid, I suggest that there are some other possible underlying reasons that we’re not being told. Here are my thoughts:
1. By Increased Security, perhaps NASA wants their people to write programs that cannot run for other Government-run systems, thereby keeping their information safer and more secure from other Government sectors seeking to shut down NASA due to the fact that the research organization costs the United States billions of dollars yearly without contributing anything financially worthy. Landing on Mars won’t pay the bills, and this is an increased threat when the global economy is in such bad shape when the national debt is in the trillions of dollars, not billions.
2. By Increased Security, perhaps NASA wants their people to write programs only for niche Linux systems that a regular Windows hacker cannot use to download and uncover classified information. Who knows? Perhaps Iran wants to land people on the moon themselves, and who better to copy than NASA?
2. By Increased Stability, perhaps NASA has gotten fed up with blue screens of death, unexpected shutdowns, and other lovely unexpected errors. Also, periodic disk defragmenting is a royal pain.
NASA Funds 3D Pizza Printer
This is interesting. With food being a prized commodity in areas of space where food is rationed in tubes, NASA utilized 3D Printer technology to come up with a 3D food printer. The printer will be utilizing edible powder to make items that look like food and can actually be eaten and have a shelf life of 30 years. Being that it all tastes the same (it must), I imagine it’s nothing more than a glorified way to make cereal. Think of Fruit Loops or Fruity Pebbles. Each loop or pebble looks different thanks to food colouring, but they all taste the same sugary way in the end.
Looks like fun!