The Ingenuity drone made the very first flight to another planet. A feat that hides another since under its carcass is a smartphone processor from 2014 and an open source software part to which 12,000 developers have lent a hand.
This Monday, April 19, at 3:31 p.m., a mini-helicopter made a flea jump on another planet. A small hover of about thirty seconds at three meters above the surface of Mars, but a historic moment for humanity. It’s from a simple Linux kernel andin open source that this elevation to 171 million km of our planet has been made possible. This software part designed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) from NASA, is based on a (F prime). It is used for space applications and in particular CubeSat. It has been available as open source on GitHub for several years. In other words, anyone can use this software to realize their own helicopter project.
And so it is that on GitHub, 12,000 developers participated without knowing it in the creation of the software of. Shadow contributors who corrected , made improvements and which were finally identified by the platform. As a recognition, they will all be affixed a small virtual badge “Mars 2020 Helicopter Mission” on their GitHub profile.
Video captured by NASA’s Perseverance rover from the Ingenuity helicopter. First powered and controlled flight on another planet on April 19, 2021 © Nasa-Jet Propulsion Laboratory
This is the first time that NASA has used Linux on Mars
If the mission ofis rudimentary, it makes it possible to verify that it is possible to evolve on Mars by exploiting standard commercial hardware animated by open source software. And for the material part, this has the nothing, but the use of commercial components in space is extremely rare. Normally, the chips must indeed meet NASA radiation standards, but this is not the case with . It’s a simple Qualcomm chip 801 clamped to 500 who officiates aboard the . This 2014 smartphone processor was based on a platform the size of a credit card. Its computing power makes it possible to navigate on Mars without GPS. With this low cost equipment, this historic little flight strangely resembles that of the pioneers of aviation.