Officials at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), in Greenbelt, Maryland, announce that the testing of a small, robotic lander was successfully completed yesterday, August 16. The vehicle, called Mighty Eagle, is capable of landing on other planets autonomously.
The three-legged robot is a technology demonstrator. Up to 90 percent of its fuel is accounted for by pure hydrogen peroxide, which means that its emissions are a lot less toxic than those released by other propellants, Space Fellowship
According to NASA, the lander is very small in size, just 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall by 8 feet (2. meters) wide, and weighs a little over 700 pounds (317.5 kilograms), fuel included. During yesterday's tests, it flew at an altitude of 30 feet (9 meters), and was able to recognize a target 21 feet (6.4 meters) away.
“This is huge. We met our primary objective of this test series – getting the vehicle to seek and find its target autonomously with high precision. We’re not directing the vehicle from the control room,” says MSFC Engineering Directorate controls engineer, Mike Hannan.