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Morpheus Robot Flies As High As The Great Pyramid Before Deking Sideways And Touching Down

The Morpheus lander comes in for a safe landing during a flight on Feb. 10, 2014. Credit: Project Morpheus/YouTube (screenshot)

The Morpheus lander comes in for a safe landing during a flight on Feb. 10, 2014. Credit: Project Morpheus/YouTube (screenshot)

If it weren’t for that blue sky and those trees in behind, we’d be convinced that this little robot is landing on Mars. The Morpheus Lander once again proved how hard-core amazing these free flights are, as the automated robot soared 467 feet (142 meters) high Feb. 10 before jaunting sideways and making a bang-on-target landing.

“Today we went as high as the top of Great Pyramid of Giza,” the NASA Morpheus Lander Twitter feed said, adding that the team was enjoying “celebratory brownies” to mark the milestone. You can watch the whole video below (and we dare you not to gape during that sideways maneuver.)

The goal of Morpheus is to figure out landing technologies for other planets at a low cost, and lately the project has hit a series of literal highs as the robot made successful free flight after free flight. An earlier prototype crashed and burned in 2012, but the team implemented redesigns and has not lost a craft since.

On Feb. 14, Morpheus also completed a series of ground “hot fire” tests to gather data on how the engines are performing. On that day, the project’s Twitter feed assured followers that another free flight test would come “very soon.”


Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Aqua4U February 17, 2014, 5:07 PM

    Way cool! I like! Runs on liquid methane and LOX right. The exhaust flame burns at what temp.? Better to land on rock and not ice unless one wanted to intentionally hover over a site to melt the ices? Collect then spray the melt on mesh lined geodesic domes? The idea is to freeze layer upon layer and create a large ice igloo with walls 6-10 feet thick. Rad shelter for the Martian surface? Good for dust and storms too… well grounded anyway….. BuzzZAP!

  • Jeffrey Boerst February 18, 2014, 2:59 AM