For the first time in history, we’ve flown an aircraft, the mini-helicopter Ingenuity, on another planet. Opens-source software backed up its engineering. A small miracle happened at 3:31am ET on Monday morning. Ingenuity, a tiny NASA helicopter, became the first powered aircraft to fly on another planet, Mars. This engineering feat was done with Linux, open-source software, and a NASA-built program based on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) open-source F´ (pronounced F prime) framework.
At 11-light minutes from Earth, there was nothing easy about this. True, Mars has only a third of Earth’s gravity, but Mars’ atmosphere has only one-hundredth of the density of Earth’s air.