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5 Space Software Codes We Can Use on Earth

5 Space Software Codes We Can Use on Earth

We’ve made some amazingly advanced software for our space missions, from launching rockets to the International Space Station to landing rovers on Mars. But a lot of that software can be applied to other situations here on the ground. We’ve got hundreds of downloadable programs in the NASA Software Catalog available for public use—and they’re all free.

We’ve rounded up five interesting software programs to get your search started.

1. Take a walk on Mars from your living room

Want to walk around Mars from the comfort of your living room? OnSight can help with that. Our engineers and scientists created this mixed reality software to immerse themselves in a visualization of the terrain around the Curiosity rover, so users feel like they are really walking on the Red Planet. The software can be adapted to visualize other locations, which means it could also help us explore places on Earth, like caves and lava fields. No wonder it was awarded NASA’s 2018 Software of the Year! 

2. Enhancing images from space and the doctor’s office


It’s hard to take a perfect picture from space. That’s why our scientists created the Hierarchical Image Segmentation software program – to help us enhance and analyze images taken of Earth from space by the Landsat and Terra missions. But, that isn’t all it can do. Doctors have used the software to analyze medical images, such as X-rays, ultrasounds and mammography images, to reveal important details previously unseen by the human eye.

3. Video game tech helps our engineers build spaceflight hardware


Installing sensitive spaceflight hardware is hardly a time for fun and games. Except when it comes to the Distributed Observer Network, or DON 3.1. This software combines innovative NASA tools with commercial video game technology to train our employees for stressful tasks – like maneuvering important, delicate tools through tight spots when building instruments or spacecraft. DON can be used in many other industries, particularly for overcoming the challenges that face virtual teams collaborating on complex problems.

4. Software helps protect Earth from space junk


Those of us on the ground may imagine space as a peaceful place to float among the stars, but in reality, Earth’s atmosphere is filled with junk. This space debris can cause damage to spacecraft and satellites, including the International Space Station. That’s where the Orbital Debris Engineering Model software program comes in. Thanks to this NASA software, we can study the risks of debris impact to help us protect our orbiting equipment and – more importantly – our planet. Communication companies could use this software to prevent debris damage when launching satellites, saving them a lot of time and money.

5. From exploration missions to your office, this software keeps projects on track


Do you manage complex projects at work? There are a lot of steps and moving pieces in play when it comes to getting a spacecraft from the launchpad into space. Used during the space shuttle missions, the Schedule Test and Assessment Tool 5.0 add-on works with Microsoft Project to automate project data to help us stay on track. It’s one of the more popular programs in our software catalog because it provides quick, clear assessment info that can help with decision making.

These are just a few examples of the software NASA has free and available for the public. To browse the new 2019-2020 catalog online, visit

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