NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, which achieved controlled flight on Mars runs on the same Qualcomm chip as the Samsung Galaxy S5 and other Android smartphones. Also Read - NASA Perseverance Mars rover uses 1998 iMac processor with just one upgrade
The Ingenuity helicopter runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC, which was seen on smartphones in 2014 such as the Galaxy S5 and OnePlus One, according to a 9to5Google report. Also Read - NASA astronauts complete seven hour spacewalk to prep ISS for new solar panels
“Of course, instead of running Android, NASA opted for a more traditional Linux operating system. This processor and operating system handle things like the helicopter’s visual navigation system and the flight control systems,” the report read. Also Read - Watch in 360-degree: NASA Perseverance rover touchdown from inside Mission Control
NASA announced Monday that its Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet.
The solar-powered helicopter has been built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). NASA confirmed at 3:46 a.m. PDT the flight succeeded after receiving data from the helicopter via the Perseverance Mars rover.
“Ingenuity is the latest in a long and storied tradition of NASA projects achieving a space exploration goal once thought impossible,” said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk in a press release.
“The X-15 was a pathfinder for the space shuttle. Mars Pathfinder and its Sojourner rover did the same for three generations of Mars rovers. We don’t know exactly where Ingenuity will lead us, but today’s results indicate the sky – at least on Mars – may not be the limit,” Jurczyk added.
Among key objectives of NASA’s for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is to search for signs of ancient microbial life.
Interestingly, the 19.3-inch-tall Ingenuity Mars Helicopter contains no science instruments. Instead, the 4-pound (1.8-kg) rotorcraft is one of the US space agency’s technology demonstration projects.
It intended to demonstrate whether future exploration of the Red Planet could include an aerial perspective, NASA said in a press release.