With the highly publicized Mars landing of the rover Curiosity now starting to produce some awesome pictures of the Martian landscape it looked like everything was going NASA’s way. Today that changed. Cosmic Log reports:
A prototype lander for future moon missions went awry and blew up today during its first free-flight test at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the space agency reported. The $7 million Morpheus lander project is an experiment aimed at testing autonomous navigation systems and other spaceflight technologies.
Morpheus has undergone a series of less ambitious tests, including its first tethered flight at Kennedy Space Center last Friday. During that test, the craft was suspended from a crane on a safety tether. Today’s test was aimed at pushing the envelope further by letting the methane-powered craft off its leash.
There’s video of the explosion.
It kind of reminds me of the section of the movie “The Right Stuff” when they were showing the pre-Apollo rockets failing.