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."
Apple denied creating any “back doors” for intelligence agencies.
The fetuses’ heart rates were monitored at 32, 33 and 34 weeks as they listened to a recording of a female stranger recite the rhyme.
On July 23, 2012, the Sun experienced the most powerful in 150 years, NASA revealed on Wednesday.
Tech giant Apple reported Tuesday a 6 percent increase to $37.4 billion in quarterly revenue after selling 35.2 million iPhones.
The total number of online access devices projected to rise to 50 billion in 2020 and 100 billion in 2030.
Tasmania is currently the only Australian state that bans genetically modified food crops and animal feed.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein said Friday he had authorized a warrant to be served on Google Inc for the emails of an unnamed individual who is the target of a money laundering investigation.
The freighter was loaded with more than 3,660 pounds (1,660 kg) of food, science equipment and supplies for the space station, a $100 billion research laboratory
The remains include two Tyrannosaurus bataar skeletons, a fossilized egg and a well-preserved 'nest' of several Oviraptor skeletons.
The MindRDR software monitors high levels of concentration, allowing users to take photographs and post it online without even having to move.
Angara rockets are a key to President Vladimir Putin's effort to reform a once-pioneering space industry hobbled after years of budget cuts and a brain drain in the 1990s.
It is hoped that by 2040 drones will be able to use 3D printers to print out mini-drones and repair themselves.
Russian Presidnt Vladimir Putin denied he was restricting web freedoms, saying his main concern was protecting children from indecent content.
Producing stem cells has become fast, easy, and inexpensive.
It's believed that a collision of two asteroids out in space caused a shower of meteors to rain down on Earth during the Ordovician Period some 470 million years ago.
Scientists discovered that wild chimps communicate 19 specific messages to one another with a “lexicon” of 66 gestures.