Linux Has Landed On Mars
NASA has landed a new rover called Perseverance on Mars. It has it's own miniature helicopter named Ingenuity that can take off, navigate, and land on Mars without human intervention. Ingenuity runs a custom Linux-based operating system, Linux has now reached Mars.
written by 林慧 (Wai Lin). published 2021-02-19 - last edited 2021-02-21
An image sent back from the NASA Perseverance rover on Mars.
Tim Canham, Mars Helicopter Operations Lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), revealed the use of a custom Linux operating system for the Mars helicopter in an interview with IEEE Spectrum:
"This the first time we’ll be flying Linux on Mars. We’re actually running on a Linux operating system. The software framework that we’re using is one that we developed at JPL for cubesats and instruments, and we open-sourced it a few years ago. So, you can get the software framework that’s flying on the Mars helicopter, and use it on your own project. It’s kind of an open-source victory, because we’re flying an open-source operating system and an open-source flight software framework and flying commercial parts that you can buy off the shelf if you wanted to do this yourself someday."
Linux is dominating everything but the desktop and laptop markets on planet Earth. It is not yet dominating on Mars, the Perseverance Rover is not running Linux and neither are any of the previous robots sent there. The Ingenuity helicopter is just the first step towards Linux dominance on Mars and then, perhaps, the entire known solar system.