Though everyone may be buzzing about the recent Mars Rover Curiosity that touched down on the red planet earlier this week, NASA still has plans to head back to the Moon. Project Morpheus is their latest Moon Lander and has recently been undergoing some tests. Unfortunately, August 9th saw the Morpheus lander devoured by flames, and you can watch it all go down after the break.
During an untethered, free-flight test the Project Morpheus vehicle began to take flight, but just moments later experienced a hardware malfunction. The failure resulted in the vehicle losing stability while in the air, quickly sending back down to solid ground. Because the the propulsion system was active when the fall occurred, the Project Morpheus lander almost immediately went up in flames.
Thankfully, NASA reports that no people were injured during the event and the agency remains optimistic. You can read a portion of the official statement below:
Engineers are looking into the test data and the agency will release information as it comes available. Failures such as these were anticipated prior to the test and are part of the development process for any complex spaceflight hardware. What we learn from these tests will help us build the best possible system in the future.
Video footage of the test can be viewed at NASA.gov, but we've made it a little easier for you by embedding the video below.