Saturday, July 16, 2016

Examples of Apollo 11's Source Code

More examples of Apollo 11's source code at the link below. Apollo 11's Source Code Has Tons of Easter Eggs, Including an Ignition File Titled 'Burn Baby Burn'. The entire source code for Apollo 11's flight computer software was recently posted to GitHub, a collaborative platform for developers, and it's filled with tons of hidden Easter eggs including jokes, a Shakespeare quote and a reference to the Black Power movement going on at the time.

Apollo 11's original source code was developed by computer programmers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the '60s. The code was backbone of the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC), which astronauts used to guide, navigate and control what became the first spacecraft to ever land on the moon.

AGC's source code was actually made available online at Virtual AGC for the first time in 2003, when technology researcher Ron Burkey transcribed the original scanned hard-copy pages that MIT made public.

However, the source code started getting significant attention only recently after former NASA intern Chris Garry posted it on GitHub last Thursday.

Since then, hundreds of programming enthusiasts have been sifting through the code and highlighting Easter eggs, Garry told ABC News today.

Garry explained that in programming, developers often leave comments throughout their code to describe to readers what the code is supposed to do. However, it's obvious that IT developers did more than just that. They added in playful messages, puns and pop culture references.

For example, the name for the ignition file in the code is "BURN_BABY_BURN," a phrase popularized by '60s R&B disc jockey Magnificent Montague. One of the developers wrote in a NASA journal that it was a reference to the ongoing Black Power movement.

"We might not have been out on the streets, but we did listen to the news, and the two biggest news stories were Viet Nam and Black Power, the latter including H. Rap Brown and his exhortations to 'Burn Baby, Burn' -- this was 1967, after all," developer Peter Adler wrote in the journal.

Part of the source code MIT programmers wrote for Apollo 11's flight software is pictured here in a screenshot from the source code posted to GitHub by former NASA intern Chris Garry.
In a block of code a few hundred lines down, a developer put in the comments "HELLO THERE" in the first line and then "GOODBYE AGAIN SOON" in the last line.

Another file in the source code is titled "PINBALL_GAME_BUTTONS_AND_LIGHTS," a reference to a popular arcade game at the time. That file apparently contained the code that ran the program for the keyboard and display system.

Within that file is another Easter egg: a quote from William Shakespeare's "Henry V." 'It will be proved to thy face that thou hast men about thee that usually talk of a noun and verb, and such abominable words as no Christian ear can endure to hear.' Henry 6, Act 2, Scene 4.

Another line of code showed that a code that a programmer hoped would just be temporary ended up being used in the final version.

In that same file, there’s also a line that appears to instruct astronauts to "PLEASE CRANK THE SILLY THING AROUND" before going "OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD."

"As you can see, there are humorous comments riddled all over the code," Garry told ABC News. "It's obvious that these guys had a lot of fun writing this code, and we developers have been having a lot of fun reading it."

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