Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, has featured a Pakistani developer whose open-source code enabled NASA’s mission to Mars.

In his keynote address at Microsoft Inspire Conference, CEO Microsoft praised Ahmad Awais whose contribution on GitHub made NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter Mission possible.

Speaking regarding his contribution, Awais said he had once fixed a minor bug and completely forgot about it until GitHub informed him that his code contributed to the software of Mars 2020 Helicopter Mission.

He added that he felt shocked when he realized his contribution facilitated humankind’s first successful attempt at a powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet, 117 years after The Wright brothers’ first flight on Earth.

Aside from Awais, nearly 12,000 people contributed code, documentation, graphic design, and much more to the open-source software that made Ingenuity’s launch possible.

To celebrate the remarkable feat in the open-source history, GitHub also added a special badge to the profiles of those contributors.

About Ingenuity Helicopter Mission:

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter departed Earth for its 293 million mile trip to Mars aboard the Perseverance Rover in July 2020.

Although Ingenuity Helicopter’s journey on Mars was only about 10 feet, it marked a major milestone for humanity that was the first powered, controlled flight on another planet and proof that it’s possible for a helicopter to achieve lift-off on Mars.

In order to fly in Mars’ thin atmosphere—with an atmospheric volume less than 1% of Earth’s—NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) had to keep the weight of Ingenuity below 1.8 kg, including blades, a motor, a power supply, solar panels, and enough computing power to monitor instruments and keep the helicopter from deviating from its pre-programmed course.

Packing everything Ingenuity needed into such a lightweight rotorcraft was an engineering feat that lived up to the project’s name.