Ever wondered what makes Mars rovers tick, or how weather systems are monitored? Nasa has released its 2017-2018 software catalog (opens in new tab), including several programs that are available to the public to the first time.
The catalog covers every facet of space exploration and research, including environmental science, crew and life support, and data and image processing. Most of it is indeed rocket science (brilliant if you're an engineer, a model rocket hobbylist, or a fan of Kerbal Space Program (opens in new tab)) but tools like the Space Weather for Android (opens in new tab) app are fascinating for anyone with an interest in space and its impact on our lives.
"The software catalog is our way of supporting the innovation economy by granting access to tools used by today's top aerospace professionals to entrepreneurs, small businesses, academia and industry," explains Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for Nasa's Space Technology Mission Directorate.
Not all software in the catalog is in the public domain (many programs are only available to US federal employees), but you can request anything marked General Public Release. The catalog has proved very popular, so there might be a delay in responding to your request, but it’s well worth the wait.
If you’re more interested in taking a virtual trip through the Milky Way, check out our guide to exploring free space simulator Celestia.