NASA is conducting tests on a robotic hover lander that could be used on future lunar missions, or on upcoming asteroid missions.
The Huffington Post reports that the Robotic Lander Development Project at Nasa’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama has successfully completed a test of an autonomous hover lander. According to NASA, the test flight took place on June 13th, and the robotic lander “successfully flew up to 7 feet for 27 seconds, proving it can execute commands autonomously, such as hover for an extended period, control its position and orientation and land successfully.”
Future testing is planned, and NASA explains that these tests will “aid in the design and development of a new generation of small, smart, versatile robotic landers capable of performing science and exploration research on the surface of the moon or other airless bodies, including near-Earth asteroids.” Wired points out that another feature of these robot landers will be their ability to land “without the need for aero-braking and parachutes.”
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