Code as a Cultural Artefact

Apollo Guidance Computer Source Code

The source code to the infamous Apollo 11 mission’s Apollo Guidance Computer was previously available online it was not easy to locate. Last July it was released on GitHub making the code easy to find and search through. One may not normally look upon same as a historical or cultural artefact but the code was designed and written by humans and was a part of one of the most important events in recent history. The posting of the code on GitHub introduces the code to a modern audience and because of the collaborative nature of GitHub users can comment and suggest changes to the code thus immersing themselves in a historical artefact.


The above photo went viral after the release. The photo is of the project’s main software engineer, Margaret Hamilton standing next to a visual representation of the vast amount of code that was written. The code itself almost acts as a 1960s time capsule full of cultural references and colloquialisms of the time.

Code shouldn’t be dismissed as a non cultural reference. It’s the language of the future

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