Mars 2020 Entry Descent Landing

Relive the whole Mars 2020 Entry Descent Landing in your browser, in 3D, powered by Three.JS/WebGL 🤯

Here’s a few pointers to use:

  • Use the ⏪ ⏩ at the bottom to speed up / slow down the animation
  • Scroll over the pane on the left to jump between phases of the landing
  • You can click and drag around as you see fit, zooming also possible

Mars 2020 Entry Descent Landing →

SPACEX – ISS Docking Simulator

This simulator will familiarize you with the controls of the actual interface used by NASA Astronauts to manually pilot the SpaceX Dragon 2 vehicle to the International Space Station. Successful docking is achieved when all green numbers in the center of the interface are below 0.2. Movement in space is slow and requires patience & precision.

My inner space-geek rejoices! 🤓

SPACEX – ISS Docking Simulator →

Inside NASA’s facility where they keep the Moon Rocks

In honour of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing – which launched on July 16th, 1969 – Destin from SmarterEveryDay went to the NASA facility where they keep about 70% of the Moon Rocks that were ever collected (Apollo Missions 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17). The video offers us a truly amazing inside view on how the rocks are stored, manipulated, documented, etc.

Extra kudos to his guide Andrea Mosie, who speaks in such a passionate, open, and honest way about it all. It must be a joy and privilege to work with her.

💩 Did you know: In order to take all those rocks back, the astronauts left a lot of their stuff on the moon … including wastebags filled with their own poop.

In the end of the video Dustin refers to It’s Okay To Be Smart‘s video on The Genesis Rock, which is also worth your time:

The Wikipedia article on Moon Rocks is also worth a read 🙂

🚀 If you really want to go back in time you can – just like with the Apollo 17 Mission before – relive the entire Apollo 11 Mission in real-time. Included real-time elements are:

  • All mission control film footage
  • All TV transmissions and onboard film footage
  • 2,000 photographs
  • 11,000 hours of Mission Control audio
  • 240 hours of space-to-ground audio
  • All onboard recorder audio

And to say some people still think this was all a scam 😅

Apollo 11 in real-time →

NASA: We Are Going

We are going to the Moon, to stay, by 2024. And this is how.

Must admit I got some goosebumps while watching this …

Project Apollo Archive

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The Project Apollo Archive is an online reference source and repository of digital images pertaining to the historic manned lunar landing program.

12,000 photos and counting.

Project Apollo Archive (Flickr) →
Project Apollo Archive (Facebook) →

The panorama at the top of this post was assembled from several Apollo 16 photos by Maciej Winiarczyk.

Write NASA worthy code

A verifiable set of well-chosen coding rules could make critical software components more thoroughly analyzable, for properties that go beyond compliance with the set of rules itself. To be effective, though, the set of rules has to be small, and must be clear enough that it can easily be understood and remembered. The rules will have to be specific enough that they can be checked mechanically.

  1. Restrict all code to very simple control flow constructs – do not use goto statements, setjmp or longjmp constructs, and direct or indirect recursion.
  2. All loops must have a fixed upper-bound. It must be trivially possible for a checking tool to prove statically that a preset upper-bound on the number of iterations of a loop cannot be exceeded. If the loop-bound cannot be proven statically, the rule
    is considered violated.
  3. Do not use dynamic memory allocation after initialization.
  4. No function should be longer than what can be printed on a single sheet of paper in a standard reference format with one line per statement and one line per declaration.
  5. The assertion density of the code should average to a minimum of two assertions per function.
  6. Data objects must be declared at the smallest possible level of scope.
  7. The return value of non-void functions must be checked by each calling function, and the validity of parameters must be checked inside each function.
  8. The use of the preprocessor must be limited to the inclusion of header files and simple macro definitions. Token pasting, variable argument lists (ellipses), and recursive macro calls are not allowed.
  9. The use of pointers should be restricted. Specifically, no more than one level of dereferencing is allowed. Pointer dereference operations may not be hidden in macro definitions or inside typedef declarations. Function pointers are not permitted.
  10. All code must be compiled, from the first day of development, with all compiler warnings enabled at the compiler’s most pedantic setting. All code must compile with these setting without any warnings.

Some rules might seem absurd at first (No dynamic memory allocation, really?), yet think of these in the context of a lunar lander which you can’t hotpatch on the spot. The full PDF comes with the reasoning behind these rules.

The Power of Ten – Rules for Developing Safety Critical Code →

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