The Code for the Moon Landings was Released and It’s Surprisingly Hilarious

apollo moon landing[Image Source: Public Domain]

Nearly 50 years after the historic moon landings, NASA has just released all of the code that was used to get the astronauts there. Every line along with notes was made public on GitHub, where anyone can peruse through the commands and get a glimpse at how the moon landings were programmed. Of everything about the code, people are finding that the notes left by programmers are surprisingly funny and give us a look back into the hilarious work environment that existed in NASA in the 1960s. All of the notes are filled with jokes and pop culture references at the time. Below, you can see that one programmer wrote a note to an astronaut to “please crank the silly thing around.”

apollo moon[Image Source: GitHub]

After going “off to see the wizard…” the code continues. Reddit has been blowing up with discussions about the hidden jokes and notes in the code, with users finding endless material. Below, the set of commands starts with “hello there” and then subsequently ends with “goodbye. Come again soon.”

NASA moon landings[Image Source: GitHub]

When the programmers set out to program for the Apollo missions, they had to invent their own programming language. This resulted in a hybrid programming language that was specifically designed for the moon missions, called ‘rope memory,’ according to Quartz. All of the code has been relatively public for some time now, but it wasn’t until last Thursday that people started to show interest.

It is apparent in the notes of the code below that one programmer really didn’t want certain lines he or she wrote to make it into the final program. However, given that the lines with notes, “temporary, I hope hope hope,” are still there, it is evident that his hopes didn’t end up happening.

temporary hopefully[Image Source: GitHub]

Of all of the endless hilarity found in the programmers’ notes, they even included an excerpt from Shakespeare, courtesy of the authors, of course.

apollo funny code[Image Source: GitHub]

Among the more obvious notes, the names of certain programs also struck a chord with users. Subroutines in the landing sequence were named “trashy little subroutines,” with a command inside being called “numero mysterioso,” according to Popular Mechanics. Not only does this code give an inside look into the minds of the programmers in the mid-1960s, but it also gives insight of the thought process that landed man on the moon for the first time.

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