Did you know that NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter runs on a 2014 Qualcomm chip?

April 25, 2021

The same chip running on a Samsung Galaxy S5.

NASA’s historic Mars mission has another thing to celebrate. Just last week it was revealed that the Ingenuity helicopter officially took flight on the surface of the red planet and rose up to 10 feet and hovered for 30 seconds. While it’s brief, this marks the first time that a powered, controlled flight took place on another planet, definitely a momentous moment in human history.

Ingenuity features a solar panel located on top to charge four batteries, where it primary draw power. “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,” said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk, who cited highlighted some of the NASA projects that helped push the limits of space exploration.

It is also amazing to know that the technology behind Ingenuity included a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip as part of its internals. In case you’re not aware, the Snapdragon 801 was released in 2014, and is the same processor running on the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the first-generation OnePlus smartphone. 

You would think that the processor could be underpowered to run Ingenuity, but note that it doesn’t run Android but a more traditional Linux operating system. Both the Snapdragon 801 along Linux are powerful enough to handle the helicopter’s navigation and flight control systems.

You can watch Ingenuity’s flight on the video below, recorded from the Preservarance rover:

by Victor
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff.