For those who missed it, the first ever controlled flight on a planet other than Earth was carried out on 19/04/2021. It was done by the Ingenuity helicopter , which arrived on the surface of the Red Planet together with the Perseverance rover on February 18, 2021. But what does Ingenuity, on Mars, have to do with GitHub?
Taken from the Perseverance rover , far enough away to be safe from possible problems, the "little rover" managed to rise to a height of about 3 m and 30 cm and remained in the air for about 40 seconds, all completely autonomously. .
What does Mars and Ingenuity have to do with GitHub?
In an interview with NASA Senior Engineer Tim Canham with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), it was confirmed that Ingenuity's onboard software runs on Linux.
Is there anything else you can share with us that engineers might find particularly interesting?
“ This is the first time we will fly Linux to Mars. We are actually using a Linux operating system. The software framework we are using is the one we developed at JPL for cubesats and tools, and we made it open source a few years ago .
So, you can get the software framework that is flying on the Mars helicopter and use it in your project. It's kind of an open source win, because we're piloting an open source OS and open source flight software framework and commercial parts that you can buy off the shelf if you want to make it yourself one day.
This is new to JPL because they tend to like what is very safe and proven, but many people are very excited about it and we can't wait to do it. "
If you are curious, here you can find a list of all the Open Source projects that have collaborated on this fantastic and great project!
The flight of Ingenuity is therefore also thanks to 12,000 developers , that is, those who contributed to writing the software and related documentation. As is often the case, however, many (if not most) of these developers are not even aware that they have helped make this possible. Precisely for this reason, GitHub, in collaboration with the NASA JPL, has decided to reward all the developers involved with an ad hoc Badge .
“Many of the people who are getting a badge probably have no idea that their software is being used to fly a helicopter to another planet. We wanted to make sure everyone was recognized for their contribution to this incredible human achievement "
The badge is therefore added to other GitHub Badges, including certainly the one related to " Arctic Code Vault Contributor ".
A few details on Ingenuity
Mars Helicopter Scout (Ingenuity) is a helicopter operating on the planet Mars in conjunction with the NASA Mars 2020 mission. The mission started on July 30, 2020. Ingenuity was transported inside the Perseverance rover and landed on Mars on February 18, 2021 after a fall lasting about 7 minutes.
It is the first motorized aircraft to fly to another planet. However, this is not the first flight ever, given that in 1985 the Russians with the Vega 1 and 2 mission flew balloons to Helium for 46 hours.
The aircraft brought to Mars, under its solar panels, a fragment of the wing of Flyer I, the airplane used by the Wright brothers for their first flight to Earth. However, the tribute does not end here: it continued when NASA announced that it had named the area overflown by the aircraft "Wright Brothers Field", which then obtained, on an honorary basis, the ICAO JZRO airport code. Ingenuity itself has instead obtained, again in an honorary way, the ICAO YGY carrier code.