Lisp in Space

This podcast episode tells the story of Ron Garrett, a robotics and AI enthusiast who wanted to bring LISP, a programming language known for its parenthesis and macros, into NASA’s Mars rover project. Ron and his team at the Jet Propulsion Lab faced challenges and skepticism due to the prevalent use of other programming languages at NASA. However, they believed that LISP’s high-level abstractions and memory management capabilities made it the ideal choice for autonomous robot programming. While their approach did not make it into the first Mars rover prototype, Sojourner, Ron reflects on the incredible success and achievements of NASA’s rovers and emphasizes the importance of taking care of Earth rather than colonizing Mars.

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