Joining NASA to Conquer Space with JavaStephen Chin | April 1, 2012
This was an April Fools’ spoof — everything is factual except the company I joined. Read more here.
Just in the past year I lead the OSCON Java conference, wrote a new book on Android Flash, and also put out an update to Pro JavaFX 2. A lot of rumors have been flying around about what the next big thing for me will be, especially since I just quit my job this past week! Well, time to put the speculation to rest and announce my new gig at the NASA Ames Research Center.
“…time to put the speculation to rest and announce my new gig at the NASA Ames Research Center.”
NASA actually already has quite a bit of Java in use internally at NASA today. You may not know that the command and control systems for many of the mars rovers, including the Spirit and Opportunity, use Java technology to send instructions to the remote robots as well as analyze the data coming back and construct 3D views for the navigation software used in the control center. After 8 years on the planet, the Opportunity is still going strong, collecting data on Mars craters and seasons, and bringing back priceless images from the red planet.
NASA is so reliant on Java technology that they are also active contributors to the open-source community. The newer K-9 rover has even more use of Java technology, for which they developed a tool called Java PathFinder in order to identify and eliminate software errors. This is actually an open-source project that you can use in your own application development to trace through different bytecode paths and identify and debug potential deadlocks or exceptions. One of the main features is the ability to deliver not just a stack trace where the error occurred, but the entire execution path that lead to that error.
Recent advances in Java make it a great platform for doing the sort of mission-critical work that NASA needs. Embedded Java offers a compact, reliable platform for building Java applications on a variety of hardware platforms that are efficient and robust enough to be used in unfavorable conditions such as space and planetary exploration. The Java EE platform is the industry standard for server technology, and provides a number of reliable, fault-tolerant communication transports that can speed up and data transmission and analysis for researchers worldwide. And the part I am most excited about is JavaFX technology, which is a modern UI toolkit for developing rich client applications that can incorporate business controls, data charting, media playback, and even 3D.
“JavaFX … is a modern UI toolkit for developing rich client applications that can incorporate business controls, data charting, media playback, and even 3D.”
Swigert: ‘Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.’
Houston: ‘This is Houston. Say again please.’
Lovell: ‘Houston, we’ve had a problem. We’ve had a 404 error.’
“Houston, we’ve had a problem. We’ve had a 404 error.”
Needless to say, I am glad to be working on Java, and taking it to new heights at NASA!