GitHub awards ‘Mars 2020 Helicopter Mission’ badge to 12,000 open source developers who contributed to Ingenuity code
Yesterday was a landmark day in the history of space technology, as NASA successfully conducted the first flight on the surface of a foreign planet with its Mars Ingenuity Helicopter. Ingenuity’s software received several contributions from the open source community, some of them unaware that they helped make the first flight on Mars possible.
Open source software collaboration and code hosting platform GitHub has now announced that it will add a new ‘Mars 2020 Helicopter Mission’ badge on the profiles of every GitHub user who contributed to an open source project or any library that was used by NASA’s helicopter. According to GitHub, nearly 12,000 people contributed to various projects used by NASA.
NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter runs on an embedded Linux distribution and its code is comprised mostly of C++, including F Prime – NASA’s open source flight control framework, according to GitHub. Meanwhile, ground control and data processing, a vital part of the flight process, was powered by the open source Python ecosystem.
“Many of the people who are getting a badge probably have no idea their software is being used to fly a helicopter on another planet. We wanted to make sure everyone was recognized for their contributions to this incredible human achievement,” says GitHub Senior Director of Developer Relations Martin Woodward.
The new badge will join GitHub’s existing badges for GitHub Sponsors, for those who support open source projects, as well as Arctic Code Vault contributors, for developers working on the company’s long term data and code archival facility that is located deep in the permafrost of an Arctic mountain near the North Pole.
“There’s definitely a collective pride on occasions like this,” Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin says. “Linux started as a hobby operating system and now it’s the de facto platform for mobile computing, cloud computing, automobiles, and so much more. Now it’s an interplanetary operating system as well,” he added.