Home / Tech / News / GitHub awards ‘Mars 2020 Helicopter Mission’ badge to 12,000 open source developers who contributed to Ingenuity code

GitHub awards ‘Mars 2020 Helicopter Mission’ badge to 12,000 open source developers who contributed to Ingenuity code

GitHub will reward nearly 12,000 developers with the badge. GitHub will reward nearly 12,000 developers with the badge.
GitHub will reward nearly 12,000 developers with the badge. (GitHub)

The open source software collaboration and code hosting platform will add the badge to the profile of every GitHub user who contributed to an open source project or library used by NASA’s helicopter.

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. 

Also read: NASA celebrates ‘Wright brothers moment’ as Mars Ingenuity helicopter takes flight

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.

Here's what the Mars 2020 Helicopter Mission badge looks like on an eligible contributor's profile. 
Here's what the Mars 2020 Helicopter Mission badge looks like on an eligible contributor's profile.  (GitHub)

“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.

Read more: GitHub launches three new programs for developers, students and startups to boost open-source development in India

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.

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