World Bulletin / News Desk
A small NASA lander being tested for missions to the moon and other destinations beyond Earth crashed and burned after veering off course during a trial run at theKennedy Space Center on Thursday, officials with the U.S. space agency said.
There were no injuries after the prototype, known as Morpheus, burst into flames near the runway formerly used by NASA's space shuttles.
The insect-like vehicle, designed and built by engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, had made several flights attached to a crane before Thursday's attempted free-flight.
Morpheus' engines, which burn liquid oxygen and methane, appeared to ignite as planned, lifting the 1,750-pound (794 kg) vehicle into the air. But a few seconds later, Morpheus rolled over on its side and plummeted to the ground.
NASA video showed the vehicle engulfed in flames and then rocked by a spectacular explosion, presumably due to the fuel tanks rupturing.
“"Failures such as these were anticipated prior to the test, and are part of the development process for any complex spaceflight hardware," NASA said in a statement.
An investigation is under way, the statement added.
Project Morpheus began in partnership with privately owned Armadillo Aerospace, which is developing re-usable, suborbital vehicles that take off and land vertically.
NASA, which has spent about $7 million on the project over the past 2-1/2 years, is interested indeveloping technologies that could be used to fly cargo to the moon and other future missions beyond Earth orbit.
Project Morpheus was an example of what the former project manager called "“Home Depot engineering" - low-budget projects that use existing resources and partner with non-traditional aerospace companies.
“"The Morpheus lander is kind of our poster child. It's one of our first attempts to do these kinds of projects," former project manager Matt Ondler said in an interview with Reuters last year.
“"Instead of building some elaborate test structure, you go to Home Depot and build something very quickly that gets you 80 percent of the answer and allows you to keep moving forward," he said.
Morpheus arrived at Florida's seaside space center in July for three months of increasingly rigorous test flights, including automated landings in a mock moonscape, complete with craters and boulders.
The lander was designed to deliver about 1,100 pounds (500 kg) of cargo to the moon, NASA said on its Project Morpheus website.
Technologies being developed include a propulsion system that uses liquid oxygen and methane -- green fuels that could be manufactured on other planetary bodies, NASA said.
The accident happened as NASA scientists were still hailing the Mars rover Curiosity's descent and landing on the Red Planet earlier this week as a "“miracle of engineering."
Iceland will be ready to start using magma to generate electricity in 2015.
Lockheed Martin and Electro Optic Systems (EOS) will set up a new tracking station will be based in Western Australia.
Scientists at the Harbin Institute of Technology have discovered a way to allow submerged vessels to travel fast than the speed of sound under water at around 3,600 miles per hour.
Iceland produces almost all the energy it consumes through renewable energy sources, according to Iceland's Energy Authority report.
Information belonging to tens of millions of Sony customers was put at risk by cyber attack on gaming network.
The popular website UFO Blogger compared the find to previous images of a “fossilized, reptilian spine” and a “human finger.”
The two-day fair showcases products like control and surveillance equipment; mine and bomb detectors and aviation security.
Scientists hope to use information about how the organisms fare in the highly radioactive and extreme temperatures of space to devise life-detection techniques for future robotic Mars missions.
The congress will bring together more than 200 of the world's global digital and tech leaders.
Asteroid 1950 DA could hit the Earth on 16 March, 2880.
Anonymous had its account suspended after leaking the name of a police officer accused of shooting dead a black teenager.
Mirzakhani was recognised for her work in understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces, according to the Stanford site.
The cargo includes a European-built electromagnetic levitator, which will be used to suspend and heat metal samples in weightlessness with the goal of improving industrial casting processes
The site, called BrownList (http://www.brownlist.com/), carries the motto "It's payback time."
Last year, China launched a campaign to clamp down on online rumour mongering and 'clean up' the internet.
In May 2014, a court in the US found that both companies had infringed on one another's patents, putting Samsung on the hook for $119.6 million, and Apple down for a mere $158,400.