Fancy digging through the Apollo 11 source code?

When the Apollo 11 mission succeeded, and man walked on the moon for the first time, it wasn’t down to dumb luck. Take the flight software, for example – there was a lot of it. What does the source code for a manned flight to the moon look like when painstakingly printed out? I’m glad you asked.margaret_hamilton_and_her_nasa_source_code

Fancy digging through the Apollo 11 source code?

That’s Margaret Hamilton, director of software engineering, standing next to the paper software. In an email to Vox, Hamilton asserts that this code is just the Apollo Guidance Computer’s source code, writing: “To clarify, there are no other kinds of printouts, like debugging printouts, or logs, or what have you, in the picture.” Either she’s pint-sized, or that’s a lot of code.

You probably don’t want a physical copy showing up in several boxes at your house, so you’ll be pleased to know that the software has now been

uploaded to GitHub in its entirety, thanks to NASA intern Chris Garry. It’s actually not the first time it has been put online, but GitHub’s millions of programmers is a far wider audience than the software has ever had before, and those poking through it have found some lovely Easter eggs that really put you back to the 1960s when the code was first being devised.

Reddit’s ProgrammerHumor subreddit has been particularly efficient at digging these out. Take the BURN-BABY_BURN- – MASTER_IGNITION_ROUTINE file for example.apollo_11_burn_baby_burn

“Goodbye. Come again soon.”goodbye_come_again_soon_nasa

“Off to see the wizard”nasa_apollo_11_off_to_see_the_wizard

GitHub also allows users to suggest changes to the code, and everyone’s a know-it-all with hindsight, aren’t they?apollo_11_source_code_error

That’s a reference to Apollo 13’s infamous accident, when one of the oxygen tanks exploded. Relax, though, help is on the way:apollo_11_source_code_fix

And don’t worry. Someone has added an extension pack for picking up Matt Damon.

Images: NASA and GitHub

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