OK, so you've always wanted to be an astronaut. But you looked at the application form and realised you weren't quite what NASA needed. No problem! There's an alternative.

NASA just launched a new site to introduce programmers to open-source projects on which you can work with the space agency. Admittedly, for free, in your spare time. But hey, you'd be making a contribution, and that counts for something, right?

Right now there are four open projects on code.NASA.gov, but the site's in alpha, and a bunch more projects should arrive soon. The site is run in part out of Ames Research Center, which is located in Silicon Valley. Ames researcher William Eshagh wrote about the launch:

"Ultimately, our goal is to create a highly visible community hub that will imbue open concepts into the formulation stages of new hardware and software projects, and help existing projects transition to open modes of development and operation."

So, you can't be an astronaut, but you can still help NASA out. [code.NASA.gov via @geetadayal via The Atlantic; Image: Buglugs]