Robotic Lunar Lander is Part of NASA's Next-Gen Space Exploration Plans

Illustration for article titled Robotic Lunar Lander is Part of NASAs Next-Gen Space Exploration Plans

This amazing shot comes from recent tests at the Marshall Space Flight Center, where the robotic lunar test bed is helping NASA develop a new generation of multi-use landers to explore the moon, Mars and asteroids.

Those big oval-shaped tanks store fuel for the test bed's thrusters, one set of which guide its altitude/landing. For the tests here on Earth, an additional thruster offsets gravity so the others function as they would on the moon.


NASA is developing a flight mission to travel to the lunar poles, but also designing the landers to set down on the moon's mid-regions. To build-out the program, Marshall partnered with John Hopkins University's Applied Physics Lab, and the Von Braun Center for Science and Innovation.

Given the recent discovery of water molecules on the moon, I'm thinking they're gonna keep getting funding. Very cool. [NASA via The Huntsville Times]

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Didn't those silly Limeys build an airplane that does this sort of thing already, not to mention flies pretty quick and can hold people? I hate when we are trying to play catch up with people that talk funny on a big island.

This looks cool, but I do not get the sense of the size of it in this picture. Is it 60 feet, 6 feet, or 6 inches? Or maybe all three simultaneously, which might be a sign of something entirely different.