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To infinity and beyond: Linux and open-source goes to Mars

To infinity and beyond: Linux and open-source goes to Mars

If all goes well, the first flight on Mars will be made by the Linux-powered Perseverance Mars rover's companion drone helicopter.

 

Perseverance hit Mars' atmosphere at almost 12,000 miles per hour (19,312 kilometers per hour) and a mere seven minutes later NASA landed its latest Mars rover softly and safely. Onboard the one-ton mobile science lab is its tiny flying companion, the drone helicopter Ingenuity. If all goes well, the four-pound (1.8 kilograms) Ingenuity will be the first vehicle to ever fly on another world.  At 11-light minutes from Earth, no one will fly the dual-propped Ingenuity with a drone controller. Instead, it will fly itself using a combination of Linux and a NASA-built program based on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) open-source  (pronounced F prime) framework.

This will be no easy task. No one has ever tried to fly on Mars, which has an atmosphere only one-hundredth of the density of Earth's air. True, Mars also has only a third of Earth's gravity, but still, Ingenuity's engineers will be pleased as punch just to get Ingenuity off the ground.

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